At our monthly team meetings, one of our crew members discusses some of our five values: strength, courage, commitment, heart, and spark. This is Brittany’s reflection from this month’s meeting.
Today as I sit at my desk, drinking my morning coffee, and watching the first few snowflakes fall, I think about the upcoming Shave for the Brave season, what we want to accomplish, and how we will make it happen. Shave for the Brave would not be possible without our amazing volunteers. Our volunteers are the backbone of the shave. I am not just talking about the people who help up set up the stages or sit at registration tables, our volunteers are our Shavers, our donors, our hairstylists, and our volunteers are our YACCers who come out to our events and share their stories.
First, I would like to introduce you to Naomi-Lee. I met Naomi last year when she was diagnosed with classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Being from the same small community and around the same age, I see a lot of myself in Naomi. Naomi agreed to be one of our 2019 Shave ambassadors, representing our young adult cancer community. She donated countless hours attending a variety of events with me, shaking hands, and giving a big smile to all the participants. She gave up many hours of sleep to wake up at the crack of dawn to give radio interviews. I am so thankful for the opportunity to watch her grow as a person and become more comfortable sharing her story.
This is Ray. Ray is one of the thousands of Shavers who have participated in Shave for the Brave. This past spring, Ray Shaved for the tenth time. He started participating in the Shave at his work and has now transitioned into hosting a Solo Shave. For those who don’t know, Solo Shaves happen any day, anywhere in Canada. These events are organized independently and take place in front of a small crew. I would argue Solo Shavers have some of the largest hearts. They take on all of the planning, coordinating, and executing. These Shavers are such an integral part of the Shave for the Brave campaign, and I can not express my appreciation enough.
Next, I need to say thank you to all of the hairstylists who donate their time during their work days to come and volunteer to shave some heads. Hundreds of heads are shaved over the course of the year in support of YACC. If it were not for you, Shaves would go on forever as I would be shaving each head by myself. To Betty at Keyin School of Hair Design, thank you for arranging more stylists than anyone else, and thank you for allowing us to meet all of your amazing students.
To April from The Head Room, thank you for shaving more heads in 2019 than any other volunteer stylist.
When his older brother, Malik, got picked to be a Shave ambassador, Solomon decided that he was “inspired” enough to take part as well. Solomon and Malik teamed up with their grandmother, Granny, and became one of the cutest Shave teams in YACC history. They went door to door asking for donations, wore matching t-shirts, and faced the roar of the razors together. We can’t finish talking about this amazing family without sending a shoutout to Solomon and Malik’s mom, Arwa!
Last, and certainly not least, is my dad, who is affectionately known around YACC as Poppa Barry. My dad has always supported me in everything I have done — aside from getting my belly button pierced — so it is no surprise that he has attended almost every event I have hosted. He is normally up and ready at 6 a.m. for the Dunk for the Brave, he lifts everything I say is too heavy at community events, he joins me on “road trips” for out of town events, and at almost 60-years-old, he has volunteered to be the spirit of Razor when needed. There is nothing that my dad hasn’t done or won’t do for YACC.
It is because of our volunteers that I have been given the amazing opportunity to meet such wonderful caring people who have helped me see how much volunteering matters. I wish I had the time and space to write how much I truly love all of our volunteers. Believe it or not, I do remember most of our volunteer’s names and stories, and I wish I could share them all with you.
As this holiday season is upon us, I want to say a very special thank you to all the people who have donated their time during 2019 to make the Shave for the Brave so impactful. I cannot wait to meet so many more volunteers next year.