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On World Cancer Day, Feb. 4, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (The PMCF) raised awareness with the #NoHairSelfie (#NHS) social media campaign.
Amongst a variety of side effects, cancer patients can experience hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment. In response, the #NHS campaign invites participants to physically shave their head or to undergo a "virtual shave" using the free #NHS mobile app to show solidarity for patients undergoing treatments.
Earlier in 2015, the app was featured in the Apple iTunes store as one of its "Best New Apps."
Shave the Day!
On January 7, #NoHairSelfie launched and announced that World Cancer Day would be the official day for participants to physically or virtually shave their heads.
Many of the participants, or "hair-ticipants," in the #NHS campaign have either endured their own cancer journey or have gone through it with a loved one.
Paul Alofs, President & CEO of The PMCF, shared his own personal connection to the cause.
"My mom, Pat, was a wonderful mother, teacher, wife, friend. She died of breast cancer in 2002," says Alofs, who physically shaved his head at the campaign's launch. "Most of us have a story about love and loss when it comes to cancer.
"Changing these statistics by raising funds for cancer research is what the #NoHairSelfie is all about."
The PMCF held a #NoHairSelfie media event yesterday where a simultaneous physical shaving commenced featuring various hair-ticipants. Toronto Mayor John Tory was present with scissors in hand to help shave the head of music industry leader and recent Order of Canada recipient, Gary Slaight. A virtual shave was also held on stage to demonstrate the app.
What is World Cancer Day?
World Cancer Day aims to raise awareness of the disease and how individuals, community and government can positively impact the global cancer burden. It was founded by the Geneva-based Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), a non-governmental organization with 364 member organizations from 100 countries dedicated exclusively to the control of cancer.
The Princess Margaret, one of the top five cancer research centres in the world, supports this international call to action. Medical Director Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz has been active in the UICC since 1990 and served as its President from 2012 to 2014.
How can I participate in the #NoHairSelfie campaign?
"Hair-ticipants" were offered a variety of ways to support the campaign:
Top fundraising shavers from the inaugural campaign underwent the razor at the "Celebrity Buzz-Off" at Steam Whistle Brewery last night. Harley Mintz, partner and vice-chairman of Deloitte Canada, was to have his famous curly locks shaved off by David Chilton of
The Wealthy Barber financial planning franchise and star of
Dragon's Den on CBC TV.
"Cancer affects you dramatically and in so many different ways," says Dawn Murphy, cancer survivor. "Yet one of the most visible and devastating side effects of my cancer treatment was the loss of my hair. That's why the #NoHairSelfie campaign is so important; it allows everyone the opportunity to show their solidarity and raise funds for cancer research." To sign-up as a Hair-ticipant for 2016 or to sponsor someone, please visit www.nohairselfie.com.