"You have cancer." That three word sentence can send a grown man to his knees. Now imagine, being a child or teenager hearing those words. As young women a biggest part of our outward identity is our hair, and knowing you can lose that due to chemo, that would be a hard pill to swallow. Enter St. Baldricks, a non-profit foundation that raises money for childhood cancer research. I had probably heard of St. Baldricks in passing once or twice before, but it was brought to my attention most prominently when one of my first blog friends, Michelle posted about it on her Facebook page, her daughter Katelyn came home and asked to shave her head for the foundation, Michelle was hesitant at first, but once she agreed, it was go time, watch as Katelyn explains why she wants to shave her head...but beware, you will cry, I've watched it three times and I cried each time.
Katelyn Neumann "I May Change Your World" from Robert Leighton Films on Vimeo.
After watching this video for the first time and once I quit crying, I messaged Michelle on Facebook to see if I could share Katelyn's story and she agreed, so what better way to showcase Katelyn and her story then with a little Q & A.
Hi Kate! Thanks so much for agreeing to share your story today, can you tell us a little about yourself, what makes you, you?
I'm 10 years old and almost finished with 5th grade. I like to play softball, hang out with my friends and I LOVE roller coasters!
Who and/or what inspired you to shave your head?
A family friend Emily lost her leg because of osteosarcoma. I was very happy she overcame cancer but very sad that she went through so much. When our school district said they were holding a St.Baldricks event I knew this was a way I could honor someone that I admired and raise some money for kids with cancer.
Who supported your decision the most?
My mom wasn't supportive at first but changed her mind after a week. She teaches me to always help other people and to be extra kind to people that have been through terrible things. I didn't think she would let me shave my head but she did and she tells me every day how proud she is of me.
Was there anybody in your friends or family that tried to make you change your mind?
My mom and dad didn't want me to do it. My mom changed her mind when my art teacher said she would do it with me. My dad still didn't like the idea. But I know he is proud of me for raising the money and shaving my head. He just wishes my hair would grow faster!
What do you want to say to the kids who want to do this and what about the ones who make fun of you?
If you want to do it, be sure you are ready to have a cold head! I haven't had many kids make fun of me. But those that did, I've asked them "What if you didn't have a choice in having hair? I bet then you wouldn't be making fun of me showing my support for shaving my head."
If a parent is reading this and their kid wanted to shave their head and they were unsure, what would you tell them?
Let them. I am only 10, but I know how important this is. When I asked my mom and dad I knew I was going to have to beg them. But I was ready to beg them because I knew in my heart that my hair was meant for a wig. I knew I was meant to help out other kids. Trust your kids decisions. It will change lives!
Would you do it again and if so, can I come shave my head with you?
Yes I would like to do it again. Everyone is welcome! The more bald people we can get,the better!
THANK YOU so much Kate for answering my questions, you are such an inspiration! xo.