(In our video, Vincent and Lisa from Shanti are shaving Gene and Leah)
Paintbrushes are the tools you are most likely to see people holding at Mind Unwind in The Admiral District. Saturday night, though, razors and scissors prevailed. It was West Seattle’s first head-shaving fundraiser for childhood-cancer-research money, via the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Mind Unwind was the venue, but nearby Shanti Salon and Spa was the official presenter, and senior stylist Emily Austin the lead organizer. Here’s Emily with the night’s top fundraising shavee, Gene Hsu:
Emily had told us, while organizing this, that she had been involved with St. Baldrick’s in Ohio, where she used to live, and was surprised to find out that Seattle, despite being a hub for cancer research, has one of the nation’s lowest participation rates. Saturday night, she hoped, would be the beginning of an end to that, and the show of support suggested she was well on her way:
So let’s get back to Gene. For one, his fundraising alone was double Emily’s original $5,000 goal for this first event. By the time the razor touched his hair, he was up to about $11,000, and was getting matching support from his employer Marchex, he said. Plus, he was donating his hair to Locks of Love – which makes wigs for cancer patients. Other shavees included Shelley and Eric Herzog:
Head-shavings happened two at a time – in the foreground below is John Trainor, who said he had been growing his beard for 11 years, but allowed it to be taken (along with his higher-up hair) in exchange for more donations:
Leah Browne just signed up the day of the event and agreed to give up half of her 15-year dreadlocks:
Local businesses and artists donated prizes for ongoing drawings. Emily says St. Baldrick’s spends 82 percent of donations on research, and she added, “I think it gives folks a way of supporting a loved one who might be going through cancer treatment or might have lost a loved one to the disease.” She’s hopeful the event will grow year by year … so start growing your hair now and make it all the more dramatic when you join in NEXT time! Like Gene – before and after:
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