Hello Balding for Dollars followers! I figured it was about time to introduce myself. The person behind the social, the email, the events. I think it’s important to know that the person behind the organization, has a story and a passion, and isn’t just a suit behind a computer. I don’t even own a suit! This is essentially a solo job, and I do it all – with a lot of help from our amazing Balding for Dollars committee, support staff at the hospital and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and so many wonderful volunteers of course! Some of you have met me in person, perhaps at an event, or up on T-8, but many of you I’m sure have not. My name is Marissa Dunbar and I am the administrator for Balding for Dollars. That’s me in the above photo, with my partner and my son.
It has been just over 2 years since I started this position, and May 2020 will mark my 3rd Main Event! BUT… I have a personal history with this organization that stretches over 15 years.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Mornar who started this amazing organization over 20 years ago, when my family was thrust into the oncology world when my brother was diagnosed a with a brain tumour at age 6 back in 2002. Dan is a big personality, with a bigger heart who had so much fun running Balding alongside Kelly May and giving back. My family attended the main head shave event for several years, and one of the highlights for me was dropping Dan into the dunk tank in his Chicago Blackhawks Jersey. The other highlights were watching my sister volunteering to sing and dance at the event, and my brother shaving both of my parents heads, and of course letting him cut off some of my own locks to donate after I graduated high school. I am still so proud of them all.
Balding for Dollars went through a little re-brand along the way, and with that came a logo change. My dad entered a contest for a graphic design submission and his ‘Children’s Hospital sunshine getting it’s rays shaved off’ logo idea won the spot and remains the iconic logo to date. My family has stayed in contact with Dan’s family over the years and my parents even joined a parent support group organization Dan was also a founder of called Childhood Cancer Family Support.
My brother unfortunately passed away in 2008 after a nearly seven year battle that included a lot of time spent at Children’s Hospital for my family. A couple of years after he had passed, the opportunity arose for my mom, Suzanne to apply for the Balding Administration position. And of course, she was more than qualified and she got the job! I attended the event supporting my mom in her role and helping to volunteer. She ran Balding as the administrator for 5 years, before then being promoted to Patient & Parent Advocate for oncology, taking over for Dan when he retired, which is the position she still currently holds. A close family friend, Christine Tulloch, founder of the She Defines Strength Foundation was then the administrator for 2 years, before stepping down when she fell ill again. At that time I was managing a children’s gymnastics facility, and finishing up my schooling. I loved my job but I was craving a change and something that could challenge my desire to event plan and utilize my digital marketing certifications and English degree. I applied, prepped, interviewed and got the job! I guess you could say we really have kept Balding in the family over the years.
The past 2 years has flown by and I have loved (almost) every minute of it! And I say almost because there definitely can be some hard and sad moments when you’re in the pediatric oncology world, and it is a constant reminder of what my family went through, but I see so many of the amazing things it has brought us too! This job for one, and getting to meet so many amazing people who just want to do good things and give back. It really blows me away the generosity of people and the good in human kind. That is probably my favourite part of the job, aside from helping so many families, which I know first hand the impact that has – but also meeting incredible people; hearing their stories of survival, and perseverance, and love. I can’t wait to see what the future for me has in store and to see how Balding for Dollars will evolve and thrive!
Thanks for reading and for all of your support. If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out!