Friday, August 23, 2013

Going hairless for the hairy: the fallout

Veterinary student Sy Woon poses with her family the day she sacrificed her locks for charity.
Veterinary student Sy Woon recently shaved her locks to raise funds for charity...so SAT asked her a few questions about the experience.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a 4th vet student at the University of Sydney, passionate about anything and everything relating to animal protection/welfare/rights/ethics! My goal in life is not only saving animals, but educating others (especially children) about animal welfare issues, and to foster in them a love and compassion for all animals. My full-blown bio is detailed here, as I currently work in the role of Sentient, The Veterinary Institute for Animal Ethics’ (http://www.sentient.org.au ) Social Media Coordinator! 

Apart from my love for animals, I am an avid baker of vegan cupcakes, as seen here

What inspired you to trim your hair?

I wanted to challenge myself and do something that would really motivate people to fork out for some of my favourite animal charities! Running a marathon didn’t elicit many donations in the past, so clearly I had to think of something more ‘extreme’ (which unfortunately this is regarded as, in our image-obsessed culture). I’ve had long hair my entire life, so this was considered a ‘sacrifice’; though, knowing many animals endure far worse than hair loss, it was easy for me to commit to this.

Can you describe the process?

I created a virtual online event via Facebook, requesting that people donate to a list of my chosen animal charities for my birthday, to support my prospective head shave, with a goal of $3,000! Friends and family donated and sent their ‘receipts’ to me so that I could collate the total. Apart from that, I merely continued reminding everyone these past few months, circulated news to my email networks, and shared the event amongst Facebook groups and pages - I've been truly touched by everyone's generosity, and it was exciting to receive donations from people I’d never met before!

The photos below - taken by Sy's friends - show the process in stages.

Note dogs frolicking in background.

The ponytail comes off.

Then more trimming...

A distinct punk look emerges...

Then a mohawk...

Hair today, gone tomorrow...
Four months later, i.e. this past weekend, the shave itself took place at my cottage in the Camden vet campus, overlooking the beautiful countryside. It was an incredibly fun experience, as Bil my shaver friend experimented with several different short styles (including a mowhawk!) before the final shave, and I loved watching my friends’ and family’s reactions with each cut!

How have people responded?


Friends and family have kindly assured me I “look good” with a bald head and lovingly showered me with praise, but that doesn't worry me since it wouldn't be a sacrifice if I didn't look less aesthetically pleasing! Having been warned by former shavees, I had prepared myself for being ogled at when out in public. And, sure enough, my baldness has been turning heads everywhere I go, mainly curious stares and sympathetic smiles; presumably most assume I am a cancer patient or political feminist. I’ve also been told I resemble a monk! 

So SAT would love to know: have you ever done something to raise funds for charity?

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