Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 28th February

Today was the Shavathon for cancer. Every year for a good few years, all six of us have made the trek to Cresta or the Waterfront to support this cause. In the early days, I remember there being a queue you had to stand in for even up to half an hour. Today it was not like that. I don’t know if everyone is just over-cancered, or if people find it hard to show their support anymore.

They were selling buffs for R15. Sarah was saying that, if everyone who visited Cresta yesterday morning just bought one of those (and R15 is really nothing to anyone who is out shopping), then imagine how much money they could raise.

Maybe people just don’t understand the relevance of the way the money is used and the impact that having a wig can have on a cancer patient.

Until it happens to them, or someone close to them.

I think that’s the thing about cancer. Everyone knows it’s out there. You come across adverts and awareness campaigns everywhere. And yet, there is still that ‘it won’t happen to me’ thought in everyone’s mind, I think – even if it is not articulated.

But it can. And it does.

If not to you specifically, then it can so very well happen to someone close to you.

Which is what my family has come to find out.

Yesterday all 7 of us showed our support, as we usually do. Paul had his already really short ‘locks’ shorn further. David, Charnelle, Michael and I had our hair sprayed. I was really tempted to have mine shaved, but my hair is still shorter than  the shortest they can do with the clippers (I reckon) and I didn’t want to go for a clean shave again. I now look like something out of Avatar, with silver, purple and blue stripes on my head – literally. My hair is so short that the spray barely touched it, but did a good job on my scalp!

Sarah and Dani went the whole hog and had their heads shaved. They both now have lovely short hair and look beautiful. Such a change for both of them. Such a lovely way to show support – for me and for other cancer patients.

I found myself crying as I was watching the family standing there having photographs taken. So much love and support, if not only for me, then prompted by me 🙂

At moments like that, we can see our own worth mirrored in the actions of others. And it is incredibly humbling.

My wish is, I suppose, that everyone who ever has even the slightest brush with cancer can experience that kind of support.

My cousin is going to have her head shaved at their Shavathon in March – unless it has started to fall out already. What a lovely way to show support for others and to confront her own cancer at the same time.

Strength to her and to everyone else who is battling the disease / condition.

My continued strength comes from within in many ways, and from without in so many others. Without the family around me and all the support I know I have, this would be an infinitely harder course to run.

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