Skip to main content

Be Bold, Be Bald – Is This Campaign Helpful?

One weekend when I  was doing chemo and my hair was falling out, Son #2 shaved his head as a way to show support for me. I loved him for doing that. But obviously, I would not have loved him any less had he not shaved his head. It was something he wanted to do for me and that’s what mattered to both of us.

That same weekend, Son #1 sorted through his history book collection and very thoughtfully selected a few of his favorites for me to read hoping they’d distract me. That was his way to show support. Around that same time when I was again in tears about my hair, Dear Daughter hugged me and said, “I’m sorry you have to lose your hair. I know this is really hard and I love you.” (still makes me tear up)

Such simple things to do and say, but those simple things meant the world to me. I felt supported and I felt loved. Hair or no hair.

Dear Hubby supported me every day (and still does). I know it was tough for him for a lot of reasons (and often still is), one of them being I was hard to live with at times during treatment. I admit it. I also know sometimes I still am.

One of those times when I was being particularly cranky, he said to me, “I am trying my best to support you, we all are. But sometimes you just have to let us. Sometimes you just have to let me.”

I never forgot those words.

Our loved ones want to support us. Sometimes we make it hard for them. Sometimes we do have to just let them.

But wearing a bald cap to show support, well, I just don’t get that. 

Which brings us to the Be Bold, Be Bald campaign. This is now an annual event each October. It’s interesting the event is held in October even though the support is intended for all cancer patients.

Pink has clout.

I first noticed this particular campaign last year and when it resurfaced again this year, I cringed. Again.

As many of you know by now, hair loss was a big deal for me. I was definitely not brave about it. I didn’t kick ass. I didn’t show I was taking charge by rushing to have my hair shaved off early on or by throwing a head-shaving party.

I did not embrace my baldness. Not me. I was pretty much a big baby about it.

Seeing this campaign come around again, made me wonder how I might have felt had my family and friends decided to wear those bald caps.

I’m just not sure how wearing a swim cap bald cap shows support for a person who is really bald. It seems gimmicky. Fake baldness. Fake support.

But who am I to judge?

If it works for some, fine, but as for me this seems like a really lame way to go about showing support for someone who is actually bald or about to be. In fact, seeing you in a fake bald cap might even depress her more about being bald.

The very premise behind this campaign makes an inaccurate assumption. After all, not all people undergoing cancer treatment experience baldness. 

In fact, a person can look completely healthy and have a full head of hair and yet be very sick.

So skip the bald cap. Be bold in some other way.

It might be “bolder” to cook a meal for the person or bring over some take-out, walk the dog, babysit the kids, take her to a movie, drive her to chemo, weed the garden or donate to a charity of her choosing (the idea behind this campaign is to raise money for charity, after all) rather than going ‘fake bald’ for a day.  Most importantly, love her. That’s what matters most. It always does.

So, is this be bold, be bald event helpful?

Maybe. Maybe not. I suppose if it’s raising a lot of money it might be okay. But still…

I don’t think seeing someone wearing a bald cap for a day would’ve made me feel all that supported.

What about you?

What do you think about this Be Bold, Be Bald campaign?

Have you ever experienced chemo-induced hair loss and if so, how did family and friends support you?

Get weekly updates from Nancy’s Point!

Featured image via Be Bold, Be Bald 

Be Bold, Be Bald
Even now, it’s really hard for me to look at and share this photo. Good thing Son #2 is in it. I love his smile, that’s what I focus on.

22 thoughts to “Be Bold, Be Bald – Is This Campaign Helpful?”

  1. You were not a baby about hair loss from chemo, unless I was, too. I had a hard enough time cutting it short so falling out wouldn’t be so bad, I sure didn’t shave it.
    No pictures were taken of me without a wig or scarf. I could not stand mirrors unless my head was covered. I couldn’t even stand my bare head on the pillow and got a soft stretch nightcap, since passed on to another cancer patient who also could not stand her bare head against the pillow. I sure didn’t want any of my loved ones to purposely “go bald” as it would only have served to remind me of what I was going through.
    They really rushed at starting me in chemo and I had no chance to really prepare. An young Orthodox Jewish friend of my daughter loaned me scarves and wigs. (They cover their hair after marriage) We met at my daughter’s house just before I started chemo and she and my daughter turned it into a mini-party, and had me try on different wigs, hats, and scarves, and showing me all sorts of ways of layering and tying them. Far more supportive than anyone wearing a “bald” cap.

    1. Elizabeth, Thank you for saying I wasn’t a baby about hair loss. I know what you mean about avoiding having your photo taken. I did and still do. My hair has not grown back nicely at all. I wore a cap at night too. I didn’t want any of my loved ones to go bald either, although, son #2 wanted to do that for me and I appreciated the gesture. I like how your family and friends showed support in a way that clearly made you feel loved. And yes, a bald cap. I still do not get that. Thank you for sharing. xx

  2. I totally hate the Be Bold Be Bald be bullshit campaign. It’s not the same thing as a loved one shaving his/her head for us. It’s wearing a clown-like cap that looks like a mockery of what we went through. But like so many ridiculous fund-raising tactics, I suppose it brings in money. I just hope they put it to better use than Komen.

    1. Eileen, No, it’s not the same thing. I don’t know if this campaign is a mockery or not, but I do know that seeing someone wearing a bald cap wouldn’t make me feel better. And I don’t know how much money is actually raised. But yes, I hope it’s put to good use too. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  3. Nancy, your son looks like you!

    I didn’t care about losing my hair. I did care about exposing my bald head to the public. I didn’t want the attention. But I understand how this can affect some people. Cancer treatments can affect us in so many different ways and this is a big one for many. Losing your hair is a reminder that you’re sick and that’s the part I didn’t like about it.

    I don’t like this campaign. It almost feels like they are making fun of patients. Maybe I am too sensitive these days. It is October. I feel like organizations are running out of ideas and don’t know what to think of next. Do they even reach out to patients to ask for their opinions, like in focus groups?

    People got me scarfs for my bald head which was nice because I was always cold.

    1. Rebecca, Hair loss affects us all so differently, that’s for sure. I think the thing I hated most about it was it made cancer so real. So visual. I never went out in public bald. As for this campaign, well, maybe it’s harmless, or maybe it isn’t. But I still just don’t get it. Thank you for sharing.

    1. CC, That’s an interesting take on it. I hadn’t really thought about that, although, I wouldn’t want to question an individual’s motives for wearing one. It’s just that seeing someone wearing one would not make me feel better. No question about that. Thank you for you comment.

  4. The loss of my hair was not a big deal to me. It was only hair eventually I knew it would grow back. I was bald during hot summer months so not having to worry about products shampoo and things to keep my hair looking good was no longer a priority. I now had bigger fish to fry.. My hair was down to the middle of my back. Long blonde .. Second treatment it was all starting to fall off or blow off in a gust of wind… lol (true story) It was when I finally began to look like Benjamin Button did I have my head shaved. Not much left except a few strands here and there. I actually enjoyed being bald.. This bald cap is the most ridiculous idea ..seriously who dreams up this S&%T Never would I consider or let family participate…. Alli XX

    1. Alli, I hated being bald. I hated everything about it. And I also know it’s just not true that a person’s hair always come back as it was, so I really hate it when people say, it’s only hair or it’ll grow back in no time. Mine did not. I’m glad hair loss wasn’t such a big deal for you. And yes, the bald cap, really? Thank you for sharing.

  5. Hi Nancy,
    You weren’t a big baby about your hair loss. That is a huge deal. I can’t imagine how awful it would be (as you know I was lucky enough to keep my hair). This Be Bold, Be Bald bullshit campaign has been thought up by imbeciles. So ridiculous. Like that’s really going to support people with cancer. Like you said, actually helping those with cancer is more useful.

    By the way, you are so brave to share that picture of you and your son. He looks like you! I don’t know if I could share a picture of me bald.

    1. Beth, Thank you for saying I am brave. Actually, I am not. Never was. And yes, this particular campaign just seems rather lame to me. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    2. Beth, Thank you for the kind words. And I am not brave. Never was. But thank you. And you are a good example of another reason why this Be Bold, Be Bald campaign is so lame. You had chemo and did not lose your hair. Does this mean your experience wasn’t so bad? I think not. Thanks for reading.

  6. I don’t like this campaign. It trivialises what can be a very major issue on top of the completely terrifying issue of cancer itself. It also seems to imply that it’s ok because it’s only hair, it grows back, so there’s nothing to worry about. Sadly not true in all cases including my own. Also not true for those of us who end up with ongoing treatment due to late diagnosis. The sentiment is probably the right one but as with many of these campaigns the execution is at best rather clumsy.

    1. Tracy, You came up with the perfect word to describe this campaign, clumsy. I like that. It does trivialize. It also excludes those who do not lose their hair – with or without chemo. The state of a person’s hair is not what determines how sick they are or are not. It’s just so well, clumsy. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      1. As someone whose hair did NOT all come back after chemotherapy, I’m probably not the person you want to express support for the bald campaign. I notice you mention that your hair did not come back as it once was. It too often doesn’t – I’m still bald 5 years later. Oh, I have SOME hair, just not enough to cover my head. I will say that losing my hair during chemotherapy was not a big deal to me. I had pretty scarves and hats. Not having it come back is really a big deal, tho.

  7. So, I went bald twice. First was when I was in chemo. They told me that I’d lose my hair after week 2, but I didn’t until week five. I thought maybe I’d been spared until it started falling out during a staff meeting. I went to a my hairdresser who was mortified that I asked her to do this IN THE SHOP where other woman were getting beautified. She cut it into a pixie style. The following week my husband shaved it for me (he asked if he could do this, feeling it was supportive), saying as he ran his electric shaver over my head, “this’ll be your worst haircut ever; you’re going to hate me for it.”
    Then I had to have to top part of my head shaved for brain surgery, 18 months later. I came home from the hospital with 3 inches of hair in the back, bald in front. I would not let anyone shave my head because I was devastated to be losing my hair again. I would not even THINK of letting my husband do it since it made him cry the first time. Finally, I let my Dear Daughter shave it for me. She was calm, non-emotional, and just what I needed to get through that period of time.

    You’re right. I didn’t think losing my hair would be a big deal. But it was. I would not want anyone to go bald for me and I don’t think I would like this program. Additionally, during October, we have on display in our mall, bras that are supposed to represent women who’ve had breast cancer. I look them over, but I’m always sad afterwards. I am so much more than a weird bra or a shaven head.

    Thanks, Nancy.

    1. Linda, Thank you for you comments. They are perfectly stated and full of insights. All of them. And maybe it’s a good thing I haven’t stepped inside a mall this month!

  8. Great post, Nancy. I agree this campaign must feel like a mockery for what women go through when they lose their hair and I really don’t like the gimmicky feeling it has. I haven’t personally had breast cancer, but I lost my mother to breast cancer and I have gone through the trauma of a preventative mastectomy in hopes of avoiding the same fate. Given my mother’s extended hair loss and what I do for a living (I design wigs and hats for cancer patients), I understand how difficult hair loss can be. I wanted to bring up a point that maybe others hadn’t thought about. I don’t know anything at all about this campaign so I also don’t know the intent behind wearing the bald caps. I will say that I have considered having our staff wear bald caps just for a day. Not as a show of support for cancer patients but so that they could in a some small way experience what it’s like to walk around without hair. No, it’s not the same as having hair loss but my thought was that maybe this experience could help them to have more compassion. If everyone wore a bald cap for a day as they went about their normal life, perhaps they could have a little more empathy for what women go through when they lose their hair. Even wearing a bald cap for just one day would be hard for most people. Rather than “showing off” by wearing a bald cap for cancer awareness, it might be a good personal exercise to help people be more empathetic. Your thoughts?

    1. Danielle, I’m glad you liked the post. I wouldn’t call this particular campaign a mockery necessarily, but it does feel shallow and a bit condescending. I have no idea how much money is raised, but I find it interesting the campaign targets October when it’s supposed to be benefiting all cancers. I am sorry your mother died from mbc and that you had to make the tough decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy. That’s a lot to deal with. I think your idea of having staff wear a bald cap for a day is okay. It might make them feel more empathy for those experiencing baldness due to whatever reason. I like the quieter approach so as not to seem showy. It might be a worthwhile personal exercise, but that of course, is up to you as you know your staff best. Thank you for reading and sharing your idea.

  9. And see I have to say thank you to you. I saw this ad on Facebook and it just brought me back to losing my hair during chemo. I felt the tears from everyone who had to endure it. Cancer is not a bald head. I reported the ad to Facebook. I received three messages the first was we will review it. The 2nd message stated that it was against their guidelines and if they were removing it. I thought they were finally doing something right. The third message stated it did not go against their guidelines. So I read their guidelines and it clearly was against their discrimination against health guideline. I tried to repost the ad with a message from myself asking my family and friends that if they felt it was offencive that they should report it. Facebook it’s not sharing it but leaving it on my page. I been tried to post the picture of the post and for some reason no one can see it. my message to them was that I had taken photos hairdressers with the Grace Project. And I did that to help other women going through breast cancer to see how reconstruction looks. Whenever I try to post it on a breast cancer site Facebook we remove it and I had to fight them to allow them to show the photos. I just don’t understand why we cannot use photos on a private page to help others yet this company has the authority to bring people to tears with their ad. How did you know I posted today your page and I’m hoping people will see it. To all my survivors and for those we’ve lost I will not stop until they hear my voice.

  10. This is disgusting! My hair didn’t come back after chemo five years ago! Being bald is embarrassing not to mention the $1000s I have to fork out for fake hair! Way to mock people who are going through hell!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: