All About Balding for Dollars
Balding for Dollars is an organization in partnership with the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation that raises funds to support programs that benefit Oncology, Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant patients in BC. The money raised goes into programs that support our patients’ quality of life while undergoing treatments and beyond, and donated hair is used to make wigs for kids. If we can bring a little happiness to families during such a difficult time, it makes everything worth it.
The idea behind Balding for Dollars is that people sign up to participate in a one day event where they would collect donations from their surrounding community and in return they would shave or cut their hair to support kids diagnosed with cancer, or a blood disorder. It started off as an annual single day event and now Balding for Dollars events are hosted all throughout the year all over British Columbia. Elementary, Secondary, & Post Secondary schools, societies, clubs, friends, businesses, mom-groups, families, and more have all joined the fight and hosted fundraisers. Children as young as 4 years old are signing up to participate in our events, cutting their hair, making bracelets, or hosting lemonade stands to fundraise. It’s truly an event for the whole family! It’s an incredible feeling for a child diagnosed with cancer to see their community standing beside them.
This event is more than just a collection of hair. It’s an opportunity for the community to stand with the children and their families and let them know that they are not alone. Most people don’t realize that when a child is diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder, it’s as if the whole family is diagnosed with that illness too. In order for families to make it through such a difficult time, support is needed on all levels. This is our chance to show these brave children that hair does not matter, it’s the warrior behind the hair that does. Bald is beautiful!
Our mission is to support and significantly enhance the quality of life and care provided to Oncology/Hematology patients and their families at BC Children’s Hospital and other care centres within B.C.
What you may not know is that there are approximately 150 new diagnoses of childhood cancer each year in B.C., with 350 children in active treatment and about 1500 in long-term follow up. Though there has been tremendous progress in successfully treating children and adolescents with cancer, one in every five children diagnosed each year will not survive. A childhood cancer diagnosis is devastating to the entire family. There is both a physical and psychological cost to families. Recognizing this, the oncology team at BC Children’s Hospital are working to find more effective and less invasive ways of treating children and at the same time raising awareness for childhood cancer.
Where the Dollars are Spent
We believe in complete transparency at Balding for Dollars and we want you to know that when you donate to us that your money actually helps families directly! The money raised goes into programs that support our patients’ quality of life while undergoing treatments and beyond. Balding for Dollars offers some pretty amazing programs to help improve life of not only the diagnosed children but also their siblings and parents as well. From our Teen and Family Adventure programs, to our Survivor Education Bursary program, to our Family and Patient Support program, to our funding for Childhood Cancer Research, the money raised helps us do some amazing things. Your donations are responsible for sending teens to university, helping families find accommodations while their children are in treatments, supporting local clinical researchers while they develop treatments and fight for a cure, giving supplies that are not covered by health insurance to children that need it, and by providing a fun and exciting escape from the hospital for teens and families through outdoor and local adventures!
The Team Behind it All
At Balding for Dollars, we know we couldn’t do what we do without an amazing team behind us. We have one person on staff on a part-time basis as well as a committee of stakeholders made up of amazing hospital staff members and volunteers. Every few months we meet together to discuss the programs and events happening within Balding for Dollars. Whether they work on the front lines or behind the scenes, our team is committed in working to improve the quality of life for children diagnosed with a blood disorder or cancer and their families.
Marissa is very excited to be working with the organization and amazing team that surrounds Balding For Dollars. She is no stranger to the main event; having attended as a spectator, volunteer, and even a performer many times over the past 15 years, she has witnessed the fun and incredible success. In 2008, Marissa cut and donated her very long hair in support of her little brother’s cancer journey, she even let him cut off some of the hair! She’s had proud daughter moments when both her parents have fund-raised and shaved at the main event to show their support as well. Marissa is honoured to be a part of Balding’s continued success and all of the amazing things they do for families going through the unimaginable. She is also grateful for all of the support, volunteers, advocates, shavees and donors who continue to give back each and every year! Marissa has some big shoes to fill, but looks to her amazing predecessors Suzanne and Christine for guidance as she hopes to continue Balding For Dollars success. Read more about her story here.
Suzanne has been involved with Balding for Dollars in a very big way over the past years as a parent, volunteer, and past administrator. She is very excited to work side by side with the psychosocial team at BC Children’s and other regional hospitals to help support families with FUN and informative programming such as Teen and Family Adventures to improve the quality of life for our patients and their families. She is grateful to Balding for Dollars volunteers and very generous donors who have supported Balding for Dollars in the past and in the future years to come.
Caron Strahlendorf is Head of the Division of Pediatric Oncology/ Hematology/Bone Marrow Transplant. A graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in Johannesburg, she has been an oncologist for 24 years since completing pediatric and subspecialty medical training in South Africa, England and Canada. Among her many leadership roles at BCCH she is Director of the Pediatric Apheresis Program, associate chair of the C&W Research Ethics Board and Medical Director of Camp Goodtimes.