I have seen a number of blogs and articles over the past few weeks which are criticising Macmillan’s Brave the Shave fundraising campaign. Whilst I can completely agree with the sentiment of most of these pieces, I would like to take this opportunity to put an individual reflection out there and tell the world why I will be joining this campaign in just over 2 months.
1) It’s for my Mam.
As soon as my Mam found out she was having chemo and the inevitable conversation on side effects came up, I told her that if she wanted I would shave my hair with her. My Mam is a proud and always well turned out lady, so this was going to be a big part of her journey; a journey that I have tried to to be on next to her as best I can. I want to be there with her every step of the way. For her to know that no matter what, someone who loves her is right by her side. And between me, my dad, my sister, our friends and family, I think we are covering all bases with that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – she laughs, I laugh, she cries, I cry, she shaves, I shave. It’s as simple as that.
2) It’s for other people
Since the alien turned our world into its sick little snow globe and has shaken us with all of its might, as a family our heads have been filled with questions, our hearts with an inexplainable weight, our chests with a persistent tightening and our future with uncertainties. As much as we are a very close family this can have such an isolating affect and we would be in a much more disorientated place if it wasn’t for the Macmillan helpline, fact sheets, blogs and of course nurses. To quote their current slogan – ‘no one should face cancer alone’ and I couldn’t agree more. Macmillan has been such an aid for us, but I can only assume they would be even more of an aid for those who don’t have family and friends and are actually alone.
3) it’s because I hate cancer!
I have never hated anything so much in all my life. It is the most horrific of monsters, the most selfish of thieves, the most unforgiving of enemies and the most unwelcomed squatter – I hate it! My Mam and dad have always taught us that there are two ways to beat a bully; one is to give it back to them 10 times as hard and the second is to be better than them. My Mam is looking after the first part day by day, and through raising money and sticking two fingers up at the alien I will do the second. Already I have raised over 6 times the amount I had aimed for and if that, and future money raised means other people can have someone beside them through their journey or that eventually we can get rid of the awful thing altogether, then I would gladly shave my head every day, I’d wax it, I’d wax my legs, sod it – you could pluck my beard on the hour every hour if it meant that there was nobody in the world that had to go through what the Harper’s and so many others are going through now.
4) it’s NOT for me
I fully understand what campaign I have enrolled into, but at no point have I, or will I state that I am brave – I am not. I am, by no means saying that this act is allowing me to empathise with those who are actually battling with the alien – it won’t. I will not be counting down the days to my shave with trepidation, or using words like ‘scared’ – I’m not. I bring you back to points 1,2 and 3 – that’s why I’m doing it.
A piece of tongue in cheek advice I was given over the summer was to ‘accept you are helpless’. This was not meant to belittle my situation or to be condemning of it, but rather to accept that there are some things I cannot fix or change and therefore to use that energy and need to help in ways that I can. So as well as doing the little things to support my Mam, I want to do my bit to make sure others can get the same support.