Donate money not a #NoHairSelfie

The last few days my Twitter feed and Facebook page have been abuzz with posts about #NoHairSelfie. What is that you may ask? February 4 is World Cancer Day and this #NoHairSelfie movement (if you can call it that) wants people to either shave off their hair so they are bald or take a picture on an app to show what they would look like bald (more on this later).  The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation is the hospital that is spearheading the #NoHairSelfie campaign. I was treated at Princess Margaret Hospital and the staff there are astounding but as a person who is now a Cancer survivor, this #NoHairSelfie campaign is disappointing and hurtful.

Where do i even start?


Let’s start with people shaving their heads. I see how many people see good in this as people are asking for donations to raise money. But the truth is, shaving your head when you have cancer is depressing and the most visible sign of the disease. As a person who didn’t have a choice to lose my hair, I don’t want others to shave theirs away. Because come February 5, no one is going to have a clue why you are bald. Save your hair, and just fund raise! Or, if you want to cut your hair, donate at least 8 inches so it can be useful and made into a wig for a patient going through chemotherapy.

The #NoHairSelfie app. I honestly don’t even know where to start with this one. Why would a leading cancer hospital’s foundation make an app where people can see what they would look like bald for shits and giggles? Really? Do people think it’s funny to see what I was forced to do? I didn’t have a choice but to lose my long, beautiful hair. And now that it is growing back and I thankful for each and every millimeter that it grows. There is a button where people can donate but they are under no obligation to in order to use the App. So what is exactly its purpose? But wait, then you can share it so the world can see what you would look like bald! Really? Just poor taste. Oh, and don’t forget to choose an obnoxious saying to go along with your picture. As of last night there were over 28,000 selfies taken so far for this campaign. Wow!


Now let’s talk about the wording this campaign. “People around the world will shave their heads (actually or virtually using the APP) to show solidarity with cancer patients and to raise money and awareness for the cause”. UGH. Solidarity? Really? I don’t need everyone banding together in multiple continents to show me their support. Donate money. That’s showing support. Cancer stats are staggering and that is only going to increase. The only way we can find a cure is by raising money to fund research.

Now let’s talk about cancer awareness. Everyone (and it’s our sad reality) knows at least someone who has had, has or has succumbed to cancer. Starting in kindergarten children learn about Terry Fox and Cancer. Everyone knows about it so stop saying we are raising awareness. Many years ago, yes, there needed to be awareness campaigns. Today? Nope.

I don’t believe that the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation meant harm in this campaign, but they forget about all the people’s feelings that belong to cancer patients and survivors. Cancer is not a laughing matter to us! So on World Cancer Day, I ask you to do one thing, make a donation to a cancer hospital. Let’s find a cure in our lifetime!


  1. I totally understand why you don’t want people shaving heir heads BUT my son is doing it and he has two other kids from school, one who has lost her hair already to cancer and two teachers as well to do it. They HAVE raised money for the cause. It is a way to get people’s attention…a way to make people ask…why do you have no hair…and a way to encourage more people to donate. I am proud of my son for doing it and I would encourage him to do it again and again if it raises more money and awareness.

  2. Thanks for this. I agree with your points and perspective. I’m sure no harm was meany, but like you said, the key here is to DONATE. It’s similar to when people were dumping water one their head. I didn’t do that when I was challenged to, instead, I just donated. Same thing!

  3. Jovana says:

    So on point Renee! I agree with you a 100%!

  4. paula schuck says:

    I think this App missed the mark. I think you are brilliant. You hit the nail on the head mama. I have heard many people muttering this and PMing this as well but I have yet to see someone bravely state why the app doesn’t make much sense. I heart you for many reasons but for sharing this so bravely and succinctly here maybe most of all. I am also sure no harm was intended, but sadly I think this is hurtful anyways. Unrelated – but my doctor once told me regarding one of my children – if you are being kicked you don’t really care why, you just want it to stop. I think whether it is intended to hurt or not is sometimes irrelevant. It hurts and therefore it wasn’t the best idea. Make it stop. SO many ways to show support – donate, be a damn good friend who is there for someone struggling with cancer. Hold your mother’s/sister’s, daughter’s hand while she’s having her head shaved during treatment. Cut your own hair and donate it to a charity that makes wigs. Donate money. Study science and grow up to be a person that helps find the cure..Also regarding awareness – I get this. We’ve been getting aware about many issues for so very long…why are we not moving past that and focussing hard on fixing and supporting and building cures?

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