Virgin Radio Shaves Heads, Raises Cash For Cancer Research

Breast cancer awareness month is coming to a close, but it’s still not too late to shave a head for cancer—or just to donate to the cause.

Virgin Radio 96 is hosting their 11th annual Shave to Save campaign this month as part of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Shave to Save started off as a breakfast promotion 11 years ago where $14,000 was raised.

Now, it’s one of the largest contributors to the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation—raising $3.9 million towards funding research projects, awareness and education programs, and support programs according to the QBCF.

Virgin Radio’s Lisa Player, of “Freeway and Lisa in the Morning,” shaved her head six years ago. She did so to support a high school friend who battled breast cancer and beat it—twice.

“She was so young to have to go through that,” said Player. One in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, and one in 29 will die from it according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

This year, an estimated 23,400 will have it, and 64 Canadian women will be diagnosed every day.

Player said shaving her head wasn’t easy, but she’s learnt a lot from the experience and seeing others do it too.

“I thought I was going to black out,” she laughs. “I was nervous because I shaved in front of a bar full of people […] when I look back at the pictures, I did notice a look of uncertainty on my face. “A shaved head is the least of most people’s worries when they’re waging a war against cancer,” she said. “I’ve learned huge respect for a big chunk of the younger generation, who put the needs of patients and the fight against cancer over outer appearances and superficiality.”

Shave participants who raise a minimum of $2,000 for the cause get to be shaved by a stylist with the Virgin Radio 96 staff. Last year over, 150 people shaved their heads and this year, still early in the month, they’ve already hit approximately 100 shavees.

“Not only has it raised a lot of money for research, but it’s a huge viral campaign. Everyone who shaves their head is a walking awareness campaign—people ask them, ‘Why the haircut?,’ and they tell their story. It’s extremely powerful seeing women and children doing it, especially young female adolescents,” said Melissa Dimakos, Promotions Director at Virgin Radio.

Twenty-year-old Shaugn Best shaved his head for the first time three years ago, when he found out his mother had Stage 2 breast cancer.

“I saw firsthand how devastating and challenging the disease can be. Fortunately for us, my mom survived,” said Best.

Best said the whole family worked together to help out during his mother’s battle—they had to do most of the housework, cooking and washing. “It was hard,” he said. “But we all just kept looking forward, keeping high spirits.”

There will be a final shave held on Oct. 28. The grand total of all the donations will be revealed during the broadcast, along with thank yous to all those who participated. The QBCF accepts donations by cash, credit and check. People can also give money online through rubanrose.org or virginradio.ca, and Virgin Radio has enabled donations by text—simply text ROSE to 41010 to automatically donate $5.

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