The following is a story by Jessie Winslow, who was a two-time event participant. While we have chosen to highlight her story, it is by no means the only one. We encourage you to explore the rest of our site to read others.
“I am not usually this outspoken, but I will attempt to explain what has motivated me to commit to a cause called Buzzing for Change. On April 15th 2007, I will visibly make a statement by giving up all of my hair in honor of those who are battling, or have lost their lives to cancer.
There are many ways one can give to charity. Time and money are admirable gifts to give to someone in need. However, to give away something viewed in our society as an assumed luxury, something that gives us our physical individuality is what I am choosing to give. Completely sacrificing my hair in order to make someone else feel more comfortable with themselves in a time where comfort is all you have to hold onto is, in my eyes, completely worthy. Hair will grow back. Life will not.
Is this an unnecessarily glorifying act of charity considering that in a few months my hair will grow back and I will be cancer free? Some might say, yes, "True charity is anonymous." But this is something that I strongly believe in. Giving money is just not enough for me. I would like to experience the whole act of charity. I want others to be inspired, especially those, who like myself before this date, have yet to find a way to give back to humanity in a manner that suits them best.
So, what I ask of you is your support. Come out to Washington, D.C. on April 15th. Donate what you feel is right for you: time, money, support, or your hair.
All monetary donations will go directly to Special Love, a camp for children living with cancer in Northern Virginia and all hair will be donated to Locks of Love. If you have any questions, want to donate money, or help out in any way feel free to contact me.”
> > > This was my personal manifesto written last year in order to explain to my friends and family why I had chosen to participate in Buzzing for Change. Soon after I wrote this, my roommate Becky decided she too wanted to give up her hair. Together we asked for support by holding fund raising parties in order to eventually acquire what totaled to be somewhere near $2,000. The night before the event, a group of us drove down to Becky’s home in Baltimore. We spent our last hours with hair with our closest friends who had come to support us.
On April 15, 2007, I woke up with no idea how that Buzzing for Change would alter my life. After washing and blow drying my hair for the last time, my friends and I drove to George Washington University where the event was taking place. My friend Ellie even drove all the way from Georgia to show her support! The room was full of energy. Stories, support, or hair—everyone had something to offer. It was an amazing feeling.
I found myself admiring each of these people, and wishing my grandmother, who at the time was going through experimental treatments for breast cancer, was there with me. My dream soon became a reality when I looked up to see her, with my mother and sister on either side, walking towards me. My family had driven all the way from Traverse City, Michigan to surprise me! My only reaction was the burst into tears of joy. This moment cemented my decision. I knew exactly why I was there.
My grandmother, my roommate and I then sat down and gave our hair away.
Little did I know, a year later I would be shaving my head again.
This year, my sister and I decided to commemorate my grandmother, who passed away only one month after the initial Buzzing for Change event in Washington D.C., by shaving our heads in order to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Oncology Department. The event took place in our own city of Philadelphia at Drexel University.
It is completely unbelievable how Buzzing for Change has affected my life. To me, it has become a celebration of giving and an act of healing. The emotional ties that bind me to my grandmother, roommate, and sister can never be frayed, but what is more is the tie that continues to bind us to a larger community of people who have been impacted by our story.
Of all of the people I can thank, the countless supporters, friends, and family that have pulled through to me in a time of beauty and bereavement, I want to give my utmost appreciation to Judah Ferst, founder of Buzzing for Change for giving me strength, hope, and inspiration. We can all learn from the heartening spirit of great men like Judah.