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AIBU to decline to sponsor a head-shaving to raise money for a cancer charity?

(88 Posts)
erinaceus Sat 13-Aug-16 04:40:58

An acquaintance requested sponsorship to shave their head to raise money for a cancer charity.

I feel vaguely uneasy about this, and almost repulsed. It strikes me as in massively poor taste. I do not plan to mention my disapproval, but I almost feel moved to make a separate donation to the cancer charity, which of course I can go ahead and do. However the strength of my emotional reaction came as a bit of a shock to me - it's not as if I lost my own hair to chemotherapy or know anyone close to me who did.

I typically sponsor people for things, as long as it is a cause I support - this is my choice and I know that not everyone likes to sponsor people, which I think is totally fine. This one, however, just feels wrong to me.

I have no plans to say anything to the person who asked for sponsorship - I do not know them that well. I was more trying to understand whether in general this is seen as someone raising funds by being a good sport or whether other people see it as a fundraising exercise that misses the mark.

Ouriana Sat 13-Aug-16 04:47:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mummaaaaaah Sat 13-Aug-16 04:51:18

It's part of a massive campaign by Macmillan so hardly a random option. I think it's very brave too and would be supportive. So yes I think YABU.

erinaceus Sat 13-Aug-16 04:59:26

Thanks for responding quickly. Mummaaaaaah I did not know that about the campaign by Macmillan - yes, this is to raise money for Macmillan.

I am glad I posted - I tend to think the other way around - anyone can shave their head but to run a 5k takes actual effort. Also, this person has really, really lovely hair of the sort I will never have, maybe that comes into it somewhere?

Thanks both.

a8mint Sat 13-Aug-16 05:00:29

Don't they donate their hair for wigs for cancer victims

Mummaaaaaah Sat 13-Aug-16 05:03:49

VioletBam Sat 13-Aug-16 05:06:47

While running miles takes effort, shaving your hair is a sacrifice....designed to show that you're willing to try to feel a little of what a person who has lost their hair feels. It's not in bad taste.

Lovemylittlebears Sat 13-Aug-16 05:11:13

No this is a really kind thing to do. I would sponsor them.

erinaceus Sat 13-Aug-16 05:12:00

IABU, evidentially. MN is great. I will go ahead and sponsor this courageous person - it is a colleague, so not a close friend, but someone with whom I work.

Thanks Mummaaaaaah for the link - I had no idea.

aurynne Sat 13-Aug-16 05:53:44

YANBU to choose which causes you donate to, instead of feeling under pressure to give to a particular one.

DeathStare Sat 13-Aug-16 06:49:35

You do know that you aren't obliged to sponsor anyone to do anything? And you are perfectly free to donate money to charity whenever and however you like?

I have friends who have a blanket ban on sponsoring people. It doesn't make them unreasonable.

That said, I personally have no problems with head shaves but if you feel differently (or if you don't want to donate for any other reason) then just don't sponsor them.

NeedAScarfForMyGiraffe Sat 13-Aug-16 07:25:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

erinaceus Sat 13-Aug-16 07:29:44

DeathStare yes, I do know this.

It's more, I thought this somehow insulting to people who have lost their hair through chemotherapy - something I have zero experience of - but it seems that it is not generally seen in that way. Maybe I saw it a bit like doing a sponsored silence for people who have laryngeal cancer or something? It seems it is not seen like that, so IABU on that score.

erinaceus Sat 13-Aug-16 07:31:03

NeedAScarfForMyGiraffe oh, okay. Seems I am not the only person to feel uneasy then. confused

Tanaqui Sat 13-Aug-16 07:33:02

Erinaceous, some people do feel as you do- there was a thread here discussing it but I can't remember what it was called. I would go with your feelings, as I don't think there is a general consensus over whether it is supportive or patronising.

Emochild Sat 13-Aug-16 07:37:59

Lots of people object to this as a form of fundraising and this is actually the first positive thread I've seen on here

One of the reasons people object is that the person shaving their head is making a big 'look at me' statement
They choose to shave their heads, they do it publicly, often laughing and joking -a celebration almost

People that lose their hair through chemotherapy have not made a choice, there is no laughing and joking, no celebration
-many people who have chemotherapy use painful cold caps to stop their hair falling out
Losing their hair can happen repeatedly throughout their treatment and they often also lose their eyebrows and eyelashes
This completely changes what they look like and is often as devastating as losing the hair from their head

It's in poor taste in my opinion

ShowOfHands Sat 13-Aug-16 07:52:02

I understand why it might make people uneasy. The two people I know who have done it are my friend's 16yo dd who did it on the anniversary of her dad's death from cancer and my lovely friend who lost her Mum 15yrs ago and was only a child at the time. Both had such personal reasons which eclipsed my uneasiness about the campaign. I was proud of them both.

Chilver Sat 13-Aug-16 07:57:11

i can understand the situation in ShowofHands case, but otherwise I don't personally like it. I did lose my hair to chemo which bizarrely I didn't mind - what I did mind was when it grew back it was so different and I lost part of my identity with that and still don't have that part back! Difficult to explain, but I wouldn't want anyone I know just 'casually' shaving their hair to support my fight with cancer - I would prefer they fundraised or supported the cause in other, less casual is the wrong phrase, but less personally emotive ways?

TheSilverChair Sat 13-Aug-16 08:04:59


I am having treatment for cancer at the moment, not chemo yet just radiotherapy. I am supporting a friend currently having chemo and this head shave makes me feel very uncomfortable.

It's one thing for friends to head shave in solidarity with someone they know having chemo but this is a step too far for me.

I find it attention seeking and distressing.

a8mint Sat 13-Aug-16 08:07:29

Your friend is actually DOING something to help. Who are your mawkish sentiments helping?

BipBippadotta Sat 13-Aug-16 08:15:41

I share your icky feeling about this, OP.

a8mint actually the people sponsoring the OP's friend (or donating to worthy charities, as OP does) are doing something to help.

Littlepeople12345 Sat 13-Aug-16 08:18:20

I think it's a pretty fucking amazing thing to do to be honest. I would sponsor them.

sashh Sat 13-Aug-16 08:20:03

I donate my hair to 'the little princess trust' - some people get sponsorship and others go for head shaved and sponsorship. This feels a bit like McMillan are taking their gig.

If you don't know the LPT make wigs for children, not just those who lose their hair to cancer but those who have other conditions.

There is a point to cutting your hair for it to be used, but just random shaving - not so much. And what a waste of hair that could be donated.

I would normally have donated by now (takes me 3 years to grow enough) but they are asking people who grow their hair for donation to grow 30cm.

Maudd Sat 13-Aug-16 08:28:57

YABU. I've had cancer and lost my hair to chemo, and I think it's amazing that people are willing to do this. Good on them.

HooseRice Sat 13-Aug-16 08:39:38

A boy in DDs class, when they were 9, got cancer. He started his chemo in winter. All the other boys in the class had their heads shaved in solidarity. It wasn't for charity but I well up when I think about it.

The boy has been in remission for 2.5 years now and didn't lose all his hair during chemo, it just thinned. He ended up being the only boy with hair in his class.

My DD and some of her friends have donated their hair.

Shaving is very drastic. If a friend asked me to sponsor them I would but I'm not sure I'd do it myself too much like tempting fate.

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