I, a life-long brunette, decided to go lilac purple for the month of May. Not because I was inspired by Kylie Jenner’s Met Gala look. Not because I felt the need to spice-up my appearance, but because two years ago, my mom was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
A powerful way to raise awareness for cancer is by shaving your head, but knowing my mom, she would find that too emotional. She loves my hair and has been its biggest admirer since the day I came out of her womb.
One thing I’ve learned throughout my mom’s diagnosis is that respecting her wishes is a very important part of the diagnosis and the treatment of her cancer. Anything we can do to help someone work through that period is so important to their overall sense of well-being. I knew I couldn’t shave my head because to my mom my hair symbolized what she was striving towards: the ability that someday, she could grow her own hair and live a life free from chemotherapy.
I came across a campaign called Colour to Conquer on the radio one morning. It’s a bold and engaging new fundraising initiative that invites Canadians to dye their hair a crazy colour, raise funds and donate to cancer research. The funds raised help support The Princess Margaret, one of the top five cancer research centres in the world. Needless to say, I knew this was a campaign I could get behind and I set up my fundraising page that very same day.
Throughout the month of April, I spread the word about this campaign and shared my own personal experiences as a caretaker for my mom. Within only two short weeks, I had reached my fundraising goal of $500. Friends and family are still eager to donate to the cause personally.
On Saturday, May 18, I solidified the bold decision to dye my hair. I chose the colour purple for two reasons: because the colour is often seen as having sacred meaning; and, both my grandpa (who passed away from cancer) and my mom love lilacs. I must admit, having never dyed my hair before, I was extremely nervous. The process was long and dyeing your whole head isn’t exactly “cheap” but regardless of the bleach, the time involved, and the price, I was committed to the cause.
For me, the best part of this whole campaign has been the conversation it sparked. Whether I’m out grocery shopping, filling up on gas or ordering dinner at a restaurant, I get asked about my hair. This gives me the opportunity to share my story and inform others about the cause.
So this spring, I invite you to #getyourcolouron, be bold and add some colour to your hair. If you’re not ready to go the whole way, you can also get a new “do,” wax your legs, shave your beard or chop off your ponytail. Whatever you decide, it’s a fun way to support a serious cause and a courageous act that will inspire your friends to support you.
By Lexi Wright
Being a caregiver is rewarding but remember to take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others. Show yourself some love and check out our article on YYC’s Top Spots for Treating Yourself.