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Look ma, no hair. Aren't you proud?

FOR A GOOD CAUSE: Students from SJI International - (from left) Verena Schoenenberger, Moe Ono, Lynette Tan, Ngo Qi Wei, Natasha Vincent and Carol Yiu - got their heads shaved for Hair for Hope, a charity event organised by CCF.


    Jun 12, 2014

    Look ma, no hair. Aren't you proud?

    LAST year, some girls from St Margaret's Secondary School were asked to wear wigs after going bald for cancer.

    Yesterday, their counterparts from another school showed how it should be done. With the full support of their principal.

    Seven girls and 100 boys from St Joseph's Institution (SJI) International shaved their heads for Hair for Hope, a charity event organised by the Children's Cancer Foundation (CCF).

    "This is an opportunity where the kids actually get to do something, where they themselves can identify with (cancer patients)," said Bradley Roberts, principal of SJI International.

    "They get to make a statement in a very visual way to support the community."

    To "walk the walk", Mr Roberts himself went bald for charity.

    Over the years, the school has been directly impacted by students, or their family members, who had cancer, he added.

    Last year, three girls from St Margaret's Secondary School were called out of class and taken by a parent volunteer to buy wigs after they went bald for the Hair for Hope charity event.

    The incident sparked a discussion, with Singaporeans divided over the principal's action.

    When asked about his school's stand, Mr Roberts said that the school has "slightly different rules" and students would not have to wear wigs after shaving bald. "It wouldn't make sense for us to encourage students to take part and then say that they have to wear wigs...Each school has to make its own decision," he added. For SJI, the decision was taken by the students themselves, who led the initiative.

    Student Ngo Qi Wei had initially wanted to keep her hair long for the prom. But the memory of a friend nudged the 17-year-old to get it cut.

    "I had a friend who died of cancer a few years back," she said. "Most of the time, we don't know what they go through, or don't really do anything about it...but taking part in this at least shows that you care."

    Another student, Carol Yiu, was determined to get her head shaved despite some reservations from her mother. "I have only one life, and I just had to do it," said the 13-year-old.

    Yesterday, her mother, Shen Rong Rong, 37, was there to see her daughter get her way.

    "When she first told me, 'I want to shave my head', I asked her: 'You mean you want to cut (your hair), not shave, right?'

    "But she was very determined," said the housewife. "She's so brave, and I'm so proud of her."

    Besides Hair for Hope, female students also took part in Pantene Beautiful Lengths, where each one had to have a lock of hair measuring 8 inches (20.3cm) chopped off. The locks will be sent to the American Cancer Society to make free wigs for cancer patients.

    This year, CCF hopes to raise about $3.6 million, and encourage at least 6,500 people to "make a bald statement".

    And a bold one, too.