A Little Off the Top May Save a Life

By webadmin on 09:52 am May 31, 2012
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Dyah Paramita

Gandaria City mall had an unusually high number of bald people hanging out on Sunday. It would normally be an odd site, but for the charity event Shave for Hope, it was a great thing to see.

More than 1,000 participants cut off their hair or shaved their heads during the 12-hour event, raising Rp 835,319,179 ($89,000) for Yayasan Pita Kuning Anak Indonesia — Community of Children With Cancer (YPKAI-C3).

“The participation and contribution of each individual during this ground-breaking movement really mattered the most,” YPKAI-C3 volunteer Steny Agustaf said. “Some people came from far away. That was something more precious than any diamond or pearl”

About 100 volunteers in yellow shirts gathered at the venue, distributing brochures about childhood cancer, selling merchandise and assisting participants on their way to the barber’s chair. Members of the Asian Medical Student Association Indonesia (AMSA Indonesia) did their part by educating visitors and participants about the importance of catching cancer early.

Keo Akili, a 7-year-old boy, donated Rp 200 million that he collected with the help of his grandparents, nanny, baby sitter, driver and some of his father’s employees. He looked excited about helping children who have cancer. He waved and smiled the whole time he was getting his head shaved.

Nena, who took part in the event with her husband, said that she had no regrets as her beautiful locks piled up around her feet.

“It’s all for a good cause, so why not?” said the 26-year-old. When asked whether she would be wearing a wig to cover her bald head, she replied, “No, I like my hair like this.”

As they entered the shaving area, participants had a “before” photo taken. Several minutes later, after a hairstylist from Johnny Andrean Salon gave them their new look, an “after” photo was taken. The images can be seen on the Shave for Hope website.

There was also live music, which livened up things and drew unsuspecting shoppers to the event and helped entice a few to join the bald-headed fun.

Mustafa Smith was one of the participants who decided to have their heads shaved on the spot.

“The MC said that the event was to raise money for children with cancer,” he said. “I instantly wanted to take part. I kept thinking about my mother, who died of lung cancer.”

Girindra Wardhana, who lost his mother to breast cancer, also felt the emotions well up during the event.

“I can see why an event like this is good for the kids, not only financially but more importantly, psychologically,” he said. “They know they’re not fighting the disease alone.”

Steny, from YPKAI-C3, said organizers were already planning to make Shave for Hope an annual event.

“People need help all the time. It doesn’t stop just like that, so we must not stop either,” said Steny, adding that he hoped the concept of Shave for Hope would be copied so similar events could be held across the country.

The most expensive hair of the day belonged to Agus Gunawan, from the Young Presidents Organization, who donated Rp 500 million. The Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI) presented him an award for “Most-Expensive Hair Ever Donated,” as well as awards to event planners EVIO Pro and AMSA Indonesia.

“I hope what I’m doing will have an impact on others to do the same, sacrificing something important in their lives for a good cause. This will be a learning experience for me and part of my journey,” Agus said during a speech as he accepted his MURI award.

He said that before Shave for Hope, he was always paying attention to his hair, including carrying around up to six different hair gels in his bag. He won’t need those for the next couple of months, but his charitable action will be remembered much longer than the time it will take for his hair to grow back.

Related content: Work Out, Give Hope to Indonesians With Cancer