I will share a bit of a personal story here.
In early 2019, a household member was diagnosed with cancer and very quickly, my household was thrown into a mix of doctors appointments and decisions. Before we new it, this patient was undergoing surgery followed by chemotherapy, then radiation therapy, followed up by hormonal therapy. And between each of these procedures there were more doctors appointments and decisions to make. During chemo, the decision was made to shave this patients head. For me, this physical active of removing their hair was very hard. But we rose to the challenge and despite all the struggles, we were still trying to balance our normal lives, including keeping things as sane as possible for our children and trying to do it with a sincere smile and without showing too much concern. In June of 2019, we purchased a Peloton Bike and it helped me keep my sanity (you will see why this is relevant in a moment). To put it mildly, 2019 sucked for my household but we did learn the importance of community and how hard times build resilience and we all can benefit from being a bit more resilient.
2020 came around and we felt that after the challenges of 2019, we were ready to return to the real world and exit our cancer bubble. But there was another plan for the world; the COVID pandemic. Again, after a moment of fresh air, we were back in our home limiting our exposure to others in a fairly extreme way as this family member remained immune compromised and their oncologist made it very clear that they did NOT want to contract COVID.
So we did what everyone else did, we hunkered down and we made the best of the time. We had moments of absolute insanity but we also learned new skills and how to spend time together in ways that we had not experienced before. And while the stress of the pandemic took time to feel manageable, we persevered and became more resilient. We kept ourselves busy with zoom school, zoom work, and a ton of baking - we joined in on the sourdough craze and took it one step further, one my daughter's science fair projects included making a sourdough starter.
On February 6, 2021 I got on my Peloton and was looking for a ride to take. There was some chatter on my facebook feed about Denis Morton (one of the instructors) cutting his hair and his explanation of why. I scrolled through the list of recent classes and Denis' February 3, 2020 45 minute Reset Ride popped up and I said why not try it. During the ride Denis explained that he grew his hair to donate and that for him it is an easy thing to do as it costs him nothing. In that moment, his words spoke to me. Here I was, entering a pandemic after having already been through a difficult 12 months and I was able to do something that costs me nothing but can have a significant positive impact on another person's life. I remembered have roughly 12 months before, we shaved my loved one's head so that they would avoid the trauma of seeing their own hair fall out. I remembered how now that person, every day had to consider what they were going to wear on their head so that they felt comfortable out of the house and that decision many times depended on the weather (if it was hot outside one approach would be better than another). A simple thing as hair on one's head, when absent by no choice of their own, became a struggle. And that is when I decide to grow my hair to donate it.
Fast forward to this week, I cut my hair after growing it for two years. I decided to donate my hair to Hair with a Cause (www.hairwithacause.com). They do amazing work that includes helping to build confidence back for those living with cancer related hair loss. I am hopeful that my donation will help its recipient in their battle with cancer.