OK, thats COLD – HeadShave Canada ’08

HeadShave Canada '08 Group ShotLyle Bateman, freshly shavedIt’s become clear to me in the last 24 hours that there is a very good reason for bald people to wear hats, and it’s got nothing to do with a lack of self-confidence about the baldness. The MAIN thing that has surprised me since I shaved my head is how cold it actually is. It’s not like I had a lot of hair up there to begin with, keeping my heat in, but apparently, I had more up there than I thought … the difference between yesterday and today in terms of temperature is more than remarkable. So, for the record, when you see me wearing a toque all over the place now, its because I am COLD!!!!!

HeadShave Canada ’08 went off with great success yesterday. The pics at the top of this blog entry are a few of my shots from the event (for the record, thanks to Blake Ransom of My96 radio for wielding my camera while I was getting shaved … nice job buddy … the pics turned out great), and I’ll add a few more farther down the blog, but you can also head over to my Flickr page (or Facebook if you are hooked up with me there) to see all my pics from the event (almost 60 in total), and you can see some other pics of the event at the My96 webpage for it as well. At the end of the day, over $10000 was raised for cancer research for the Medicine Hat event alone. Just wanted to send out a quick “Good on ya” to everyone who participated or helped organize the event, and a special thanks to all the people who pledged as well … without the pledges, it was just a bunch of people getting their heads shaved, so its really the people who pledged that are the true “heroes” of the event.

There were a couple of notable exceptions amongst the shavees however. First into the barber’s chair yesterday was a 10 year old boy named Chase Fockler, who raised almost $3000 to shave his long red hair. Thats a pretty traumatic experience for someone that young, but Chase stepped up to the plate for a great cause, and he was certainly one of the inspirations of the day, both for his fund raising ability and for his courage. The last person in the barber’s chair yesterday was a woman by the name of Delee Schall. Delee managed to raise over $3000 in pledges, making her the top fund raiser for the event, but beyond that honour, Delee sliced off a 3 foot long braid of hair before shaving the rest of her head. It was an act of sacrifice and charity that I could only marvel in awe at. Two other notable shavees were Jonas and Ben Skalrchuk, two brothers involved in the event for a very personal reason … to show support for their other brother who is currently battling cancer.

Delee Schall looks at her braid after removal ...Chase Fockler bravely waits for his hair to be gone ...

It’s one thing for someone like me to get involved in something like this. As a comedian, my standard line has been that since “Mother Nature has already made a good start, I may as well finish the job for a good cause.” But the truth is that my hair was pretty short anyway, and there was very little trauma involved for me to shave it off. It was the people like Delee and Chase, and Ben and Jonas, who really stepped up yesterday and did something truly amazing, both in terms of the money they raised, and the amount of self-sacrifice involved. I am proud of my involvement in the event, but I am happy to step back into the background for the real heroes to get their applause. Chase, Delee, Jonas, and Ben you humbled the rest of us, and did us proud.

There were a couple of other moments worthy of mention as well. Grant Buchanan, the morning news man from My96 was on hand for the event, initially just to watch and lend support to his colleague and roommate Blake. However, in an impromptu bidding war, we managed to raise over $100 on the spot for Grant to shave one of his legs … I’m not sure if that was planned prior to the event or not, but I am thinking that with Blake working afternoons a lot, and Grant on early mornings, Blake may pay for the idea through lack of sleep. In all seriousness, it was nice to see Grant step up and add a few extra dollars to the pot.

After seeing Delee, Chase, Jonas, and Ben, as well as all the others, I realized that I really was kind of wimping out on the deal. As people who know me will attest, the head wasn’t a huge deal for me, and its something I was considering anyway for the last 6 or 8 months. Shaving off my beard was a bit more of a step for me … of my 25 years of adulthood, well over 24 of them have been spent with some form of facial hair. But that said, I’ve also shaved it off by choice on a couple of occasions in the past, even if I did grow it back almost immediately. So, after watching the sacrifice of others, I decided I needed to up the ante a bit as well, so when my time came, I decided to take ALL the hair off my face, eyebrows included. I DO still have eye lashes, but thats the only hair left on the outside of my head (she wasn’t going anywhere near the ear/nose hair, try as I might). It wasn’t even close to the sacrifice of others there yesterday, but it was my little way of trying to step up a bit.

Overall, I think the day was amazing. Special thanks to Blake Ranson and My96 for setting the event up and running it. Also, of course, thanks to Medicine Hat Mall who donated the space we used, and special thanks to the stylists from MasterCuts who did an amazing job with everyone. Blake said he will be doing this again next year, looking to double this years collected total. Just wanted to say, I’ll be there with bells on Blake … that is, assuming my hair ACTUALLY grows back by then.

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