Remember meeting this sweet gal below a few weeks ago HERE and learning that she would be shaving her head bald for a charity called St. Baldrick’s? Well, she did it! If this is all new to you, check out my original post to find out more about both Ann Marie and the volunteer-driven organization. When I first posted about her she had raised $1,275.00 with 23 days left until the big event. Ann Marie managed to exceed her goal of $2,500.00 and raised $2,990.00. Her team (named the Bald Patriots) managed to raise an amazing $26,512.00!
Ann Marie’s hair was long enough that they sectioned it out into pigtails so her hair could be used to make a wig – pretty awesome, right? Here are some Q+A’s with Ann Marie so you can learn a bit more about why she felt compelled to join this cause.
Q:: How did you first get introduced to St. Baldrick’s?
A:: Last year, a student of mine was a shavee and shared the information about the cause and fundraising. The male members of my team of teachers showed their support by joining our student and becoming shavees, and this spread throughout the school and community. It was an awesome experience to see how the kindness and care of one young student inspired so many people!
Q:: What inspired you to join in the cause and shave your head bald?
A:: My husband was a shavee last year, and I remember him saying (with a grin and a sideways glance), “Everyone should shave their head at least once…” and that opened my mind up to it. I thought about the woman I saw get shaved last year and how inspiring that was. Ultimately, I am inspired by the reality that many children have to face in a life battling cancer. I want to show my support for their will to live and be a participant in eradicating cancer.
Q:: What kind of reactions did you have when you shared with family + friends? Was it what you expected or were you surprised?
A:: Overwhelmingly, I got incredible support from family, friends, and strangers! It has been such an uplifting experience, to feel the support and love from the people in my life. There were several interesting reactions, but it all achieves awareness. I am very surprised at how supportive the people I know and love are, and especially at the the support of strangers.
Q:: How do you feel about the money you as an individual and your entire team has raised?
A:: I am really proud of my team! It is composed of adolescents, adults, family, friends, strangers, etc. and we have surpassed our goals. I am so pleased that I have raised almost $3,000. Each dollar represents where we place our values, and so many people have a shared value of healthy children and community support.
Q:: Now that is just a couple days before you shave your head – how do you honestly feel about it? any nervousness? jitters? excitement?
A:: I am really excited! I really can’t wait. It is going to be wild. There is a part of me that feels the reality coming in, and that brings a pang in my stomach, but this is no match for the awesome feeling of knowing that we have raised so much money and awareness to fight this disease, that someone will be able to use my hair as a wig, and having the support of friends, family, and strangers.
Now some thoughts below from Ann Marie the night after the main event. These are her initial, raw emotions.
Q:: In three words how would you describe the event?
A:: Uplifting, exhilarating, and powerful. The event was super charged, flowing with incredible energy from all of the people and emotions there. It was amazing!
Q:: What emotions did you feel as you were being shaved?
A:: It is one of the best feelings ever, and I highly encourage everyone to find out for themselves. I felt extreme happiness, as well as calm and proud. I am proud of what I did, of my students, my friends, family, coworkers, volunteers, survivors, fighters, those who shaved, and of our supporters. It was awesome. I do want to tell every lady out there, the physical feeling of getting my head shaved was much like the best massage ever. I think I’ll have to do it again. :)
Q:: Can you pin point your exact first though when you saw yourself bald for the first time?
A:: Ha! Sort of. It was fun seeing everyone react to me! After a little bit, I had to go to the ladies’ room to take a look for myself. I shared the mirror with a girl who was getting ready for work, fixing her hair (she had a lot), and I smiled on the inside and thought, “I am so glad I don’t have to do that anymore.”
Q:: Did you and your team celebrate?
A:: We did. This event is so powerful, we had many circles of people on our team. We had mini-celebrations and congratulations as we hit our goals. We have such a large team, mostly comprised of middle school students, and we raised over $23,000!! I really look forward to going back to school and sharing in celebration with all of the students and staff. Go Bald Patriots!
Now meet sweet Katelyn. A 6th grader at the school Ann Marie teaches for. I don’t know about you, but If you take me back to my 6th grade year I am not sure I would have been strong enough to do something so huge, so kind and not to mention INCREDIBLY Brave.
Here is Katelyn with an adorable head band on just after being shaved. The paired imaged to the right is another amazingly brave middle schooler supporting the cause.
Below is Chris Coby. A teacher at the same school as Ann Marie and a Cancer survivor. Ann Marie says, “Chris is a strong man with a gentle spirit. He is a veteran, teacher, father, husband, and survivor. He is a source of calmness, laughter and inspiration. He competes in Iron Man challenges! I am thankful for his vitality, and am proud to know him”
To learn more about Chris and his survival story visit HERE. At the event, Chris shared that he keeps his head bald to keep from forgetting what he survived. In lieu of shaving his head, he grew out a beard to shave at the event. Yep, see that photo to the right? He agreed to shave his eyebrows to anyone willing to throw an extra $20.00 in the fundraising bucket.
Lastly, meet Debbie (who also teaches with Ann Marie and Chris). Debbie is a THREE TIME CANCER SURVIVOR. Ann Marie shared, “Debbie has a constant smile on her face, and is a true survivor. She is very open about her battles with cancer, and graciously participates with St. Baldrick’s to increase awareness and funds. Talking with Debbie makes me appreciate her choice to educate our youth even more, and celebrate her as a person. She is a treasure in our school and community.”
Here is Ann Marie all smiles and laughs just second after they brushed the last bits of hair off her neck…and of course I had to get a shot of her with her supportive husband, Mark, who participated in St. Baldrick’s last year – such an amazing couple with giant hearts. Ann Marie, you look beautiful! I am so grateful I was able to be apart of this experience – So inspired by everyone who participated!
Words directly from Ann Marie : “I really want to express my gratitude to every single person out there for the support. Every bit and every dollar is appreciated. If you were involved in ANY way, I thank you”.