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Mar 19, 2012

Going Bald in Support of Cancer Survivors

Baldmiration, you won’t find that word in the dictionary; it has been coined by the University of Belize as the name of an initiative to go bald in support of cancer victims inspired by Kim Simpliss, the most high profile cancer victim in Belize. This  morning a number of UB students and others shaved off their hair to support family members or loved ones whose lives have been cut short or are surviving cancer. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports on the initiative that was carried out in collaboration with the Belize Cancer Society and the Special Envoy for Women and Children.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Twenty-two University of Belize students and their lecturer bravely decided to sport bald heads in solidarity with persons affected or afflicted with cancer. The inspiration for the event called “Baldmiration”, according to Communications Skills Lecturer, Sylvaana Udz, came when the Prime Minister’s wife Kim Simpliss Barrow made her first public appearance in January after losing her hair due to chemotherapy.

Sylvaana Udz, Communication Skills Lecturer, Faculty of Education & Arts, UB

Sylvaana Udz

“Our statement is people be beautiful, you are beautiful. Beauty is inside; it comes out on your face. I don’t know if you’ll agree, Delahnie but I’ve been told I look younger with my new bald look so that’s a side effect that I didn’t anticipate. But you’re beautiful, we all have challenges in life, we’re you’re sisters and brothers in the fight against cancer and together we can lick this, together we can enjoy every moment God put us on this earth to enjoy.”

Kim Simpliss Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children

“They say I’m an inspiration but really you all, the ones who are doing the balding are inspiring so many people. I’m proud of you all and I think the message of you can wear a wig but you don’t have to is such a powerful one. For me it just came easy when I took off the scarf that I had on my head after travelling and my daughter looked at me and she gave me the thumbs up.”

Yolani Diaz

One student, Yolani Diaz, was nervous about how she would look, but had her head shaved in honor of her mother and father who both lost their lives to cancer.

Yolani Diaz, Communication Skills Student, UB

“At age eleven I lost my mom to ovarian cancer and she struggled with it for like two years so I had an early experience with cancer. In 2011, January my dad passed away. But what actually pushed me to go bald is that he was ashamed. He didn’t inform any of our family members that he had cancer and I think that cancer should not be something you should be ashamed of.”

Meanwhile, Tyronne Chimilio rallied support from the barbers of Slip n Slide barbershop who volunteered to do the shavings. Chimilio also re-grew his hair to have it shaved today because he recognizes the importance of the public awareness campaign.

Tyronne Chimilio, Communication Skills Student, UB

“What I actually did was, I’m always bald I think I look good bald but I grew my hair over a period of four weeks and today I went bald just to symbolize just how much I was taking this event in because it’s something that I wanted to have other people join me as well to do the same thing. When Mrs. Udz approached us in class in terms of giving support to Mrs. Barrow we found it to be a very interesting experience collectively as students to participate in it. If you can see, it made a huge impact today with all the participants and especially it sends a huge message, the power of what empathy is to cancer survivors, to persons who are battling, the family who are supporting. It shows you what people could do together collectively.”

Jim Scott

Several persons from the general public also stopped in to show support and had their heads shaved. Radisson Executive Manager, Jim Scott was among them.

Jim Scott, Executive Manager, Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina

“We’ve seen great inspiration from a lot of people. Of course, Kim Simpliss Barrow but there have been a lot of other cancer warriors out there who have been incredible inspiration to many of us. A friend of our family, little nine year old Judah Andrews in Roaring Creek has done a fantastic job with some of his battles. I just found out that a friend I used to work with years ago in San Pedro has got his battles right now and of course just past history.”

During the shavings, Simpliss Barrow and many others were moved to tears as cancer survivor Sister Maria Lawrence Caritas admitted that she has been wearing a wig for years but she was ready to fully embrace the bold bald look. Sister Caritas removed her wig and had her remaining hair shaved off. But for those who aren’t bold enough to go bald, they can show solidarity by getting pink streaks in their hair.

Heather Jones, Jonze’s Unisex Salon

Heather Jones

“My sister and I have always wanted to get involved in the cancer society in Belize and since we lost our mom on May sixth 2001 from breast cancer, we always wanted to contribute back to the society here in Belize City. So I thought what would be a good idea is for me to start a pink strand for the cause. So you come in and you pay ten dollars—you donate ten dollars to the fundraising campaign and you can get it placed in your hair wherever you like.”

Kim Simpliss Barrow

There were several messages to today’s mass-shaving but one that could not be understated was the importance of getting screened.

Kim Simpliss Barrow

“The message today is simple: please love yourself enough to get tested and don’t be afraid. Knowing is powerful because only then you can do something about it and I’ll be completely honest with you, I had no symptoms. I had absolutely no symptoms and that’s why I am begging you.”

Yolani Diaz

“Everyone go and get tested. Do your pap smear, mammogram, check your prostate. Early detection is the best way to go but there is life after cancer, during cancer and this is the statement that me and my friends are trying to bring across.”

Tyronne Chimilio

“I would just want people out there to take the message seriously and take your health seriously and go and get your check ups.”

Simpliss Barrow was also showered with gifts, including from UB and the Taiwanese Embassy. Ambassador David Wu also had gift for the Belize Cancer Society and announced that his office would be donating three thousand dollars to the organization. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

While twenty-two students shaved off their hair, one hundred others will be sporting pink streaks.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “Going Bald in Support of Cancer Survivors”

  1. CEO says:

    These women look dam good with no hair!

  2. PG resident says:

    have GOB hire one full time Cancer Specialist Doctor, and create a budjet for chemotherapy. that will save lives not this PR stunt. Entire belize can shave their head today and if your child gets cancer tommorrow their will still be no treatment.

  3. Buju says:

    Your ideology is good PG Resident but the way you express your concern is less than impressive!
    Cancer affects everyone and the backbone of our society is hit the hardest…
    Power to these women who took this bold step to impress themselves!!!

  4. now i see says:

    I agree with you ceo. They look very sexy. My respect to them.

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