By the time the clock strikes 1 p.m. on Saturday, Campbell River’s Tina and Craig Herman will both be bald.
But at least it will be for a good reason.
The Hermans have been raising money for the Vancouver Island Mental Health Society (VIMHS), a cause near and dear to their heart, and on April 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. they will be hosting a going away party for their hair to celebrate their efforts.
The idea started out innocently enough.
“One day my husband was looking at me and just said, ‘you need a haircut,’” Tina says with a laugh. “And I said ‘if you keep bugging me about it, I’ll just shave it all off.’”
It was just a casual joke, but it got her thinking.
Actually, why not?
“But if I was going to do it, it had to be for a good cause,” she says. And she got thinking about her oldest son, who lives in Alberta and suffers from anxiety and depression.
“He goes through a lot,” she says. “And a lot of people donate to cancer foundations and other things, but you don’t see many fundraisers for mental health and there are a lot of people out there suffering and people don’t even know.”
According to the VIMHS, the chances of any given Canadian having a mental health illness in their lifetime is one in five. The percentage of Canadians who commit suicide who have a mental health or substance abuse problem is 90 per cent.
When Tina called the folks at VIMHS to tell them her plan, they immediately created a landing page for the fundraising effort on their website, and together they set a goal to raise $1,000.
As of Wednesday of this week, they had raised over $1,500.
“It’s getting a little scary now that it’s close,” Tina says. “But I’m excited.”
Once Craig saw how serious she was about following through on her word, knowing it was at least somewhat his doing in the first place with his light-hearted jab, he signed up, as well.
And since she’s getting more than enough hair lopped off, it’s being donated to the BC Cancer Foundation, who has wigs produced for those who lose their hair due to cancer treatment.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to donate it,” Tina says, “because I’ve dyed it and I know, at least back in the day, if you’d dyed your hair they wouldn’t take it. But my hairdresser said, ‘nope, I’m going to braid it and they’ll take it,’ so I said, great, let’s do two charities at the same time.”
So on Saturday at 11 a.m., Studio 10 on Shoppers Row will close for business for two hours for a private party of sorts.
“Anyone who wants to come down and have some coffee, make a donation, watch someone get their head shaved – there are now at least four of us planning to do it now – and anyone who wants to get a cut to donate their hair to the cancer clinic is welcome to stop by, too.
“It has turned into kind of an event,” she says somewhat surprised about the amount of support she’s received since people started finding out about it. “At first I was just going to do it in front of the mirror and get a few donations, but this is way better.”
She says those who can’t make it on Saturday can still donate to the cause by visiting either the GoFundMe page her son Aiden began in support of her efforts or to the VIMHS page “Shave for Mental Health” until next Friday, April 20, at which time the donations will go where they can begin to help those who need them.