The short version: I'm shaving off all my hair and collecting donations to be given to Circle of Hope, a local organization that helps fund local breast cancer patients treatments and necessities that come along with going through those grueling treatments.
The long version: On July 20, 2013, I shaved my head for the first time. Before this, I had never had hair shorter than chin length, and at the time, my hair reached my shoulders. Why did I do this? I wanted to raise awareness for Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disease that causes one to lose hair, sometimes in patches, and sometimes completely. I also did it to stand in solidarity with cancer patients who go through chemo and lose their hair. I raised $640 and split it evenly, donating half to American Cancer Society and National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
I said back then that I was hoping to do this again when I was older, perhaps a senior. Now, three years later, as I'm entering my senior year, I'm keeping my word. I can't donate my hair because of how short it is, and because it has been bleached, but, I'm not backing out and am hoping to beat what I was able to collect the first time: $640.
There is another thing that I am scared of, that wasn't present last time. I have developed dermatillomania, an obsessive compulsive disorder which causes me to pick at my skin, often until it bleeds, and my scalp has become one of my main "picking sites." I'm scared to openly show the scars and wounds that my hair is currently covering up. So not only is this for breast cancer patients, it's an act of bravery that I'm taking and using to speak out about mental illnesses, and how they're often thought of as "invisible," when for many they present in very visible ways, and that this is nothing to be ashamed of, though it's very hard not to be when your body is being damaged.
Like a physical illness, you can't just will it to go away and it will, and many people who have dermatillomania or the very similar disorder, trichotillomania which is compulsive hair pulling, have to learn how to cope with the visible effects their disorder has. So throughout my donation collection period but especially after I shave my head, I will be speaking out about dermatillomania, as well as raising awareness for it along with, of course, breast cancer and Circle of Hope.
So what I am asking for is any donation, 100% of it will be given to Circle of Hope, which is a non-profit that donates directly to breast cancer patients to support their treatment and other cancer related costs. Their website can be found here- http://www.circleofhopeduluth.org/