Hair for Hope back in virtual format, aims to raise $1.5 million for children with cancer, Singapore News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – Assistant microbiologist Thangavelu Latha hasn’t kept her hair long since her son was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in 2019.

She and her husband shaved their heads to show 14-year-old Ron, who has completed treatment for the cancer in his lungs, that being bald is nothing to be ashamed of.

“When my son found out he had cancer, he wanted to keep his hair to the last strand. So we shave first, then he agreed,” says Ms. Latha, 42.

She is one of several contestants who helped launch this year’s Hair for Hope campaign on Sunday (May 2) by going bald.

The Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF) annual fundraiser takes place in a virtual format for the first time in its 18-year history. Last year, it took a break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The goal this year is to raise $ 1.5 million to help children with cancer and their families by getting 1,500 people to shave their heads, raise awareness and bring in donations.

In a more normal year, the event can attract more than 5,000 participants and cover about 40 percent of the CCF’s total expenses. In 2019, it had raised a record $ 4.78 million.

There will be no public head shaving events this year, so Hair for Hope attendees in all categories should make their own arrangements to shave their heads.

They can also visit 11 Hair for Hope partner salons for this and receive a 20 percent discount.

Donations to CCF will also be made online. The campaign will run until June 30 and some activities will be live-streamed on the social media channels.

Members of the public can visit this website for more information.

Every year, more than 150 children and young adults are diagnosed with cancer in Singapore.

CCF Chairman Ho Cheng Huat said at the launch of Hair for Hope: “Pandemic or not, childhood cancer will not end. Their fight against cancer will not end either (in areas such as) surgery, medication, chemotherapy and hair loss.

“When children lose their hair, some are laughed at, others get comments about bullying simply because they look different. Such actions affect their self-esteem, and many avoid meeting other children for fear of rejection. Anyone who shaves shows support. You have a choice to be bald, but a child with cancer usually doesn’t have that choice. “

From left: Ms. Thangavelu Latha, 42, CCF beneficiary and cancer survivor Terry Goh Wei Jie, and monastery unit manager Pua Luck Kheng, 49, with their heads shaved at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery on May 2, 2021. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Terry Goh, 12, divorced his hair at Sunday’s event at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery. He was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma when he was seven and is now in remission.

“I want to help people with cancer not to be afraid of being laughed at by others,” said the Tao Nan School student.

Ms. Latha and the monastery’s ward manager, Pua Luck Kheng, went bald with Terry during the event.

CCF has supported beneficiaries such as Terry and Ron, Mrs. Latha’s son, through initiatives such as counseling, financial aid, and classes at its Place for Academic Learning and Support to help them catch up with schoolwork.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, who shaved Terry’s head as guest of honor, said: “I can’t imagine what the kids are going through and how they are feeling. I can only say that they are so brave and I admire their resilience. And courage. We can all do our bit – big or small – to show our support for them. ”

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