Big Shave goes virtual for 2020

Hannah's Heroes and St. Baldrick's are looking for volunteers and sponsors

Before and after shots of Arlene Sperandeo, who had her head shaved in May and raised over US$2,000.

Every September, the sound of cheering, applause and laughter can be heard far beyond the confines of The Wicket in Cricket Square, where the annual Big Shave event is usually held.

Organised by Hannah’s Heroes, this remarkable community gathering has people of all ages stepping up to have their heads shaved to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, fighting to conquer childhood cancers.

The Maples and Balder team at the 2019 Big Shave event. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

This year, however – in light of the coronavirus pandemic – the event has moved online. For 2020, it has become the Virtual Shave. What does that mean? Well, instead of volunteers having their heads shaved outdoors with a live audience, they can shave them indoors with a virtual one.

Participants can sign up for the cause, choose when and where to have their noggin shaved, and encourage friends and family to sponsor them. The mission remains the same; it’s only the geography that has changed.

“Funding for lifesaving research has, of course, been impacted this year, but children everywhere are still fighting cancer,” said Gaylene Meeson on the St. Baldrick’s website. Gaylene is Hannah Meeson’s mother, and the driving force behind Hannah’s Heroes and the Big Shave.

At age 6, Hannah was diagnosed with anaplastic medulloblastoma. After a relapse and several additional months of treatment, Hannah currently still shows no evidence of disease. Throughout her treatments, Hannah never complained and remained positive and happy. The Hannah’s Heroes fund pays tribute to Hannah’s fight and Cayman’s childhood cancer heroes by raising awareness and money for research.

Ava Short, age 8, had her long locks cut off and raised US$3,395.

The Cayman Islands may be small, but it’s fierce, particularly when it comes to fundraising. Despite the size of the population here, the annual Big Shave is one of St. Baldrick’s most successful global events. Since 2013, it has raised more than US$2.4 million to fund childhood cancer research.

Obviously, it is a disappointment to organisers that the usual celebration can’t happen this year, but the most important thing is that it does not stop donations coming in. Therefore, both volunteers and their supporters are encouraged to give generously at a time when charities need the help more than ever.

In order to keep the initiative as interactive as possible, those who sign up are being asked to post on social media to spread the love. Hannah’s Heroes will also be posting updates and pictures.

Gaylene Meeson has her head shaved in 2019 while holding her daughter Hannah. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

“We’d… love to share your efforts and smiles across our social channels,” the website further stated. “We’re humbled by the enduring support of Hannah’s Heroes over the last eight years and look forward to a time when we can continue our mission together to end childhood cancer in the future. Until then, let’s continue to give hope to kids fighting cancer.”

People can sign up for the Virtual Shave as individuals or as a team. Simply visit www.stbaldricks.org/events/HannahsHeroes and click on ‘Join Us’ to become a ‘shavee’, or ‘Donate’ to support the cause. Alternatively, email [email protected] for more information and to volunteer.

| For more info about St. Baldrick’s, visit www.stbaldricks.org.

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