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Shave, Rest, Recover, Repeat.

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

There have been 29 days between me and the moment my 5” of rainbow mowhawk’d hair fell to the stage floor at Captain Hiram's during Indian River's 2019 St. Baldrick's Shave.

And I've been nearly silent. That is somewhat unintentional, and somewhat required.

When I used to photograph weddings and events, there was an un-related-to-alcohol phenomenon called the "Wedding Hangover". After an all-day non-stop emotional, mental, and physical force that lasts anywhere from 8-12+ hours — the days that follow leave you feeling anything from a little foggy to completely drained.

St. Baldrick's season is a lot like that...30 times over.

Somehow, not-so-magically, between the New Year and the end of March, I conjure 250 hours of "free-time" into ensuring we do EVERYTHING we possibly can for these kids fighting cancer. Yes, I take it personally. Yes, I lose sleep. Yes, quite a few other things get put on hold. Yes, it becomes what I (and those around me tend to) eat-breathe-and live for three solid months. When people say I "take on too much" or imply that perhaps I need to ease off the gas, I snap. We're fighting for kids lives — I'll ease up in April or May or June. You've got nine other months for rest — I won't give you those earlier parts of the year.

I'd do twice as much if I knew the magic in creating more hours in a day.

This year, those efforts cultivated themselves into proving that it’s not necessarily about how much hair you have, or even tying in your own wedding for good measure, but it's really in how much PASSION you have to fight for these kids. And that passions needs to be RELENTLESS.

Rooftops and Mountains be damned — I will broadcast from the MOON if I'm able. (Is that a thing we could do, NASA? Pretty please.) 🌕🚀🤔

And right there at the end, as Team Live Out Loud came to the stage, one of our fearless Volunteer Event Organizers, Frank appeared at my side, "Are you going first or last?"

"Your call..."

"Let's have you up first..." He disappeared just as quickly as he had appeared, although his voice still filled the air as he introduced Team Live Out Loud...I rallied our troops, and took my seat where the buzzing of the clippers met my ears and I prepared for each color to tumble to the floor.

The next moment was one I wasn't totally expecting as I was named our event's Top Fundraiser for the second year in a row — with Team Live Out Loud achieving Top Fundraising Team for our second consecutive year as well!

There's a lot in my life to be proud of, make no mistake about that — but this moment may have topped most of them. This one, this year, meant more to me than the year before it. I can't quite pinpoint the "why" of it all, but I think it lies somewhere between not thinking I'd be able to repeat and being told I probably wouldn't.

It lies, too, in the fact that this was 15 years without Kellie...yet, I know she was with us every step of the way.

And there I was, surrounded by family and friends, just a girl with a few extra inches of hair that raised $15,000+ for children's cancer research in, really, a few month's time — ready for a haircut, ready to show these kids that BALD is BEAUTIFUL.

And to think, it all started nine years ago — just a girl and her camera.

To boot, what this small, but mighty team has gone on to do since has been beyond my wildest imagination. At one point, weeks before the shave, Sean and I were talking and he dreamily tossed out, "Remember when we thought $5,000 was impossible? Now look at you..." I don't quite know where that superpower came from.

I can tell you, however — It was NEVER about 19" of long purple hair

— or even 5" of rainbow mohawk'd hair. It was NEVER about our wedding.

It was ALWAYS about these kids.

It was ALWAYS about doing 'Whatever it Takes' for them.

And, yes, I've already got my eyes on Year Ten

Team Live Out Loud's $100,000 year

— and, yep, even the three-peat. 😉

Shave 👩‍🦲✅ Rest 😴✅ Recover 💪✅ Repeat ♻️ Look for our 2020 kick off sometime in September for Children's Cancer Awareness Month, with quite a few events to follow from September - December, that'll lead us into March 2020. (Although July will "kick off" our efforts in regards to planning) 🙃 THANK YOU to EVERYONE who has helped support Team Live Out Loud and Children's Cancer Research through the St. Baldrick's Foundation these past few years — we can't do this without YOU.

YOU are the reason Team Live Out Loud has gone from "impossible" to "we're going to make that possible" — all for these kids. 🍀💜

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