Team Hairy Shearers

March 18th, 2013 by Search Influence Alumni

It’s funny how quickly one can bathe when you don’t have any hair. Yet every March I reduce my normal 15 minute shower by half. This hairless journey is because of a program called St. Baldrick’s.

St. Baldrick’s is a charity that raises money to fund childhood cancer research. However they have a unique way of raising money. Throughout the year, various cities host a sponsored shaving of people. Teams and individuals put their follicles on the chopping block to show their solidarity for young children who lost their’s through cancer treatments.

Three years ago, I was sitting in a dive of a bar with a few of my friends. Through the course of the evening and after many quips of playful insults and colorful banter, my friend Geoff mentioned he only gets one haircut a year. This notion seemed absurd to me. Geoff is the pinnacle of computer programmers. Skinny, lanky, glasses, and a mop of a haircut. Upon hearing this, I was in no bit surprised at his omission, to which I suggest it was his yearly flowbee hair cut. Yet to my surprise, he simply said he was shaving it bald.

Over the course of a PBR, a high scale specimen of beer, Geoff recounted how over the past three years, he has participated in this program. He talked about how his friend and he have been slowly raising more and more money for this charity– St. Baldrick’s. As he told me more and more about this program, my interest peeked from being curious about donating to a desire to participate. An itch in my scalp had started (I bathe regularly so it was due to a philanthropy spirit, not for something requiring a flea bath.)

That first year was exciting. One of my closest friends, Jacob, had pulled an “I’ll do it if you do it,” and, for the record, I was already sold on the idea. Over the course of six weeks, I set out in all the social media channels to elicit donations. Facebook and Twitter was my best means of getting the word out. I had set a goal of $300 the first year in fear I was not going to raise enough. However, my career in marketing proved to be most beneficial in this.

I created a Facebook event inviting friends and family to come watch as I was being shaved. And I also asked them to buy me a beer. I figured since most of my friends were like me and didn’t make a lot, I would ask them to donate the price of one beer to my cause. By my calculations, if I could get 60 people to give $5 that they would have spent on a beer, I would have more than enough to hit my $300 goal. This proved to be exceptionally successful. Not only did I raise my goal, but I passed it by over $135. And, with the other members of Team Hairy Shearers, we raised over $2,500. By the way, all of the guys on my team are avid Simpsons fans and chose to name the team after the long time voice actor from the Simpsons and New Orleans native Harry Shearer.

Well, the big day came and four of us with shaggy mops of hairstyles showed up for St. Baldrick’s. It was interesting how nervous I can get just before I have my head shaved, but I think it was just stage fright. However, as soon as my name was called to be shaved, all my apprehension and nerves disappeared. My fear of looking silly bald was gone. It was in sitting in that chair knowing that I had helped raise money for the fight of cancer in children that calmed me. And my fears of how I would look bald had melted away knowing I could choose to not shave where others were not so fortunate. After that, I haven’t looked back and I look forward to doing St. Baldrick’s every year.

So, next time you sit in a bar with some friends, please think about buying me a beer and donate 5 bucks.

Will Monson is a graphic designer from New Orleans who works with Search Influence. He spends his free time playing disk golf, volunteering with the Boy Scouts, and is an avid kickball player. Check out Will and the rest of the Hairy Shearers at their St. Baldrick’s page at: Team Hairy Shearers