Bald is Beautiful

Rachel BoucherLifeLeave a Comment

Today marks 4 years since I raised over $11,000 and shaved my head for childhood cancer research. On January 18, 2013, I sat in a salon chair shaking in my seat, as my best friend took a razor and shaved off all of my hair. This is a day I will forever remember and never regret. You can read about my decision to shave my head here and visit my fundraising page here to learn more about my chosen charity, the St. Baldrick’s foundation.

Today, I wanted to reflect on the unbelievable “silver linings” that came from going bald and raising thousands of dollars for life saving cancer research. The effects that came from this day 4 years ago, are far more superior than a head of hair.

Kindness Spreads
They say one act of kindness just leads to another, and that is exactly what happened for me. A year after shaving my head and sharing my story on social media, a mutual friend reached out inquiring about my experience. Myranda told me my story inspired her so much that she too was going to raise money and shave her head for cancer research. I was astounded, grateful, and totally taken back. I just couldn’t believe that my story touched her heart so much that she was going to do the same. I was honored to be invited to her “shave event” and nervous as I chopped off her gorgeous brunette hair. To continue the ripple effect, I recently learned that another individual, Madison, was inspired by Myranda’s story and shaved her head to promote acceptance of others. I am shocked to learn that 4 years later, the acts of kindness are still continuing. It just goes to show that you never know who you may be inspiring or what other acts of kindness will continue – 3 separate charities, 3 bald heads, and counting.

Bald is beautiful?
During the time I decided to shave my head, I was a junior in college at the University of Tampa and currently single. I knew my friends and family would be completely supportive and proud of my decision, but it definitely crossed my mind on how this would effect my “dating game”. I asked myself, “who on earth would want to go out with a bald girl?” Little did I know that this would be the beginning of falling in love with someone who would eventually become my husband. My now fiancé, Kyle, had been my best friend for years (you can read more about our story here and here). I think a huge part in why I fell in love with him so quickly was because he loved me for who I was on the inside, not what was visible on the outside. He shared with me many times how beautiful I was and I completely believed him. This was the type of guy I had been waiting for for so long. He was able to look past my bald head and see me for who I was, and loved me for it all anyway.

Self Confidence
I have always considered myself to be a pretty confident individual. I never struggled with making friends or worried too much about my appearance.. that is until I was freshly bald. When I got back to school, it was an incredibly tough transition in the coming months. The first few weeks were wonderful because I shared my story with many supportive individuals, but as my hair started to awkwardly grow back, it became more and more of a struggle to explain to people about my appearance. I had teachers accidentally mistake me for a male, strangers tell me I was walking into the wrong bathroom, bartenders triple check my ID, and old high school classmates criticize my decision on social media. I had only considered what it would be like to be bald, not what it would feel like to have stubbly short hair in the next few months and years. However, it made me even stronger in the end. During difficult times later in my life, I reminded myself that I could do anything, because of what I had already been through. While it felt like having no hair defeated me at times, it actually built up my confidence in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions
“Will you ever do it again?”
– I suppose you can never say never, but I think once in a lifetime is a enough for me. Doing this fundraiser is something I absolutely do not regret, but I’d like to give back in some other form in my future.
“Why did you choose to shave your head, why not just fundraise?”
– I chose to shave my head for 2 reasons. 1) I knew that if I 100% committed to shaving all my hair off, people would be more likely to donate, therefore more money would be raised. My initial goal was to see how much money I could raise in 30 days, then it changed to hoping to hit $5,000 in 30 days, and before I knew it, I hit over $10,000 in under 1 month. 2) I knew questions would come days after with “why is your head bald?” and that news would spread. My ultimate goal was to not only raise money, but to raise awareness, and I’m proud to say I succeeded. Not only did I raise awareness about childhood cancer, but I spread inspiration by inspiring 2 other individuals to shave their heads for their own causes as well.
“Did you know somebody with a childhood cancer?”
– No. I was not associated with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation at all before I did this shave. I spent an evening “googling” the best charities and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation was one I completely gravitated towards. I loved that they explained exactly how the money raised helped fund childhood cancer research. I have always loved to work with children and knew I wanted a career in the field of helping others, so this seemed like the perfect charity to align with and I’m so glad I did.

This was certainly one of the most memorable times of my life. My hope is to continue to give back in some capacity for the rest of my life. Whether it be donating hair, donating blood, donating time, or donating money, I encourage all of you to give what you can, as often as you can. You just never know who you may impact or inspire, and where one brave act can lead. My advice is to have courage and do something bigger than yourself. I promise you will not regret it.

Thank you to my incredible family and friends for your support over the years, and to the hundreds of donors who I couldn’t have completed this journey without. You all have impacted more lives than you’ll ever realize. Thank you.

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