Step right up! Head-shave fundraiser at roller derby doubleheader needs more heads to roll

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
March 28th, 2012

No matter how you slice it, it’s going to be a close shave at 6 p.m. on April 28 when Nelson’s Killjoys take on the reigning champions, Rossland’s own Gnarlie’s Angels, followed by a rock ’em sock ’em bout between the Bloodshed Betties and the Dam City Rollers.

And we mean a shave quite literally: a series of hair-raising halftime and intermission shenanigans will drop locks to the floor and pump funds into the charity of the shavepate’s choice.


Melissa Ringer has organized head shave fundraisers for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) since 2001 when she was a student at Mount Allison University. Now that she’s landed in the Kootenays, Ringer decided it was time to bring the head-shave here. The CCS put her in touch with the West Kootenay Women’s Roller Derby League (WKWRDL) who were keen to pair their hard-hitting bouts with fundraisers to boot.


The date is set and Ringer is now seeking “participants who are willing to cut eight inches of their hair to donate, or who are willing to shave their head completely.”


Participants will use the next month to drum up pledges before April 28 when they will head to the chopping block two at a time during half time and intermissions. There they will be tended by the skilled scissors and razors of Shine Salon (located in the old BMO building on Washington St.) who have volunteered their time and equipment to the event.


And why not chop it all off, or eight inches at least? Spring is in the air and the promise of heat makes the mane of winter a burdensome mop in the sweat of summer. 


Hang on: what about eyebrows, facial hair, or even more?


“It’s most common to just shave the head,” Ringer said, “but if people want to get extra pledges to shave additional parts of their body, that would be fun!”


Ringer said that funds need not be donated to the CCS. “Any sort of charity that someone would like to fund” is acceptable.


(For example, this reporter will hack off his golden locks to support the efforts of Prevent Cancer Now (PCN) to ban asbestos mining, oppose incineration plants, exclude carcinogenic ingredients from cosmetics, and generally educate the public on known environmental causes of cancer such as toxic garden chemicals while simultaneously supporting people to make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce their own risk—more on all this in an upcoming editorial)


The CCS puts much of the funds it receives towards support people who are being treated for cancer and their families; funds are also dedicated to research.


“There are a lot of financial restrictions for people who have to undergo treatment because the closest cancer centre for our area is in Kelowna,” Ringer explained. “Patients often have to travel a fair distance or stay out of town.”


The bald head, of course, has come to symbolize the difficulties faced by cancer patients and the terrible side effects of certain cancer treatments.


“The head shave is a show of support and solidarity for people who lose their hair during cancer treatment,” Ringer said. “Of course, there are a lot of people who don’t undergo that sort of treatment for cancer, so it’s not universal, but it’s a good show of support for people who are being treated for cancer, whether or not they lose their hair.


In previous head-shave events, Ringer said, “Some people have raised up to a $1000 to $2000, if they have a lot of support from family, friends, and community. But it’s more common that people raise $100 to $200 to shave their head or cut their hair.


Pledge forms are available through Ringer, but she said both CCS and PCN have websites for online pledges, allowing participants to appeal to a broader base of donors, and allowing donors to automatically receive tax receipts for their donation. The online sites also tally pledges in real time, so everyone can keep track of the progress.


“So far we have interest from about five people,” Ringer said, “and we’re hoping to get some more. It would be great to have 10 or more people signed up.


Interested in pledging away your hair—or eight inches of it? Contact Melissa Ringer to discuss the details at 250-521-0208 or by email at mkringer@dal.ca. Participants interested in supporting Prevent Cancer Now should also contact PCN co-chair Diana Daghofer at 250-362-5810 or diana@preventcancernow.ca. PCN donations are directed through the Hills of Erin Cancer Prevention Foundation, which in turn funds PCN’s charitable work.


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