Viv's going bald for St. Baldrick's

Dear friends,

The short of it is I’m participating in St. Baldrick's, aka I'm going to raise as much money as I can for childhood cancer research. And then I'm going to shave my head. I’ve been thinking about it for over four years and it’s long overdue. I don’t think I’ll shave my head until around November because I want enough time to fundraise, but rest assured, I'll be as bald as a whopper. If you love and want to support me, if you want to donate to great cause, or if you just want to see me bald, please consider donating. I’ll provide other incentives for donations (you can scroll to the bottom for those). If you want context, read on.

There are two components that are driving my desire to look like Caillou.

The first and more important factor is that I want to raise money for cancer research. Obviously. Cancer has affected my family, friends, and community at large. This isn’t special; I can’t think of one person that cancer hasn’t impacted. Out of the many great ways to contribute to the fight against cancer - funding patient support, educational programs, and treatment - I chose research because I want to contribute to a long term solution. 72% of the money donated to St. Baldricks goes to research, 25% goes to fundraising, and 3% goes to administration. They’re very transparent with how they collect and use their money. In other words, I trust them.

Furthermore, childhood cancer is grossly underfunded . Having witnessed first-hand the wreckage that cancer can do to those who have fought it and their loved ones, I cannot begin to imagine how that pain might be magnified when cancer afflicts a child. The irony of being at the age of learning that bad behavior has negative consequences while being impacted by the biggest and worst indicator that the world is amoral and unfair is incomprehensible to me.

Because of this, over the next few months, I'm going to center a lot of my fundraising around spreading awareness via storytelling and research. I want to learn more about this; hopefully we can learn together. If you know of anyone who has been directly impacted by childhood cancer who would be willing to be interviewed, please let me know.

The secondary factor has to do with my hair. Shaving my head =/= trying to empathize with a cancer patient. I don’t know what it’s like to have cancer and shaving my head won’t change that. The reason is a little more personal. I know a lot of people, especially girls, who have a strong emotional attachment to their hair. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; it makes sense. Hair can be glamorous and sexy, it can represent culture and femininity (save it for a separate essay, vvn), and it keeps you warm.

I’m blessed with a life full of good hair days. No matter how I cut it, how I dye it, and what I put it through, my hair manages to manage. For someone who’s struggled with self image my whole life, it’s my only vanity and source of confidence. But I like to think I could live without it. Without pivoting to a long conversation about Buddhism and detachment from worldly objects, at the end of the day it’s just... hair. My hair is not worth the hundreds of dollars that I could potentially raise with losing it. Hopefully it shows that I'm committed, cause I'm well aware that it's not gonna be the best look, but I also want to use this to hold myself accountable and become more confident in my body, the space I take up, and care less about what people might think of how I look. 

My hair is not worth that much, and I don’t expect you to think so, so I’m offering incentives for donors! I don’t have much to offer, but here’s what I came up with.

$1+ honestly I’ll be so thankful. Any amount helps! Skip your starbucks one day to see me look like the Bui family monk!

$30+  I’ll write you a poem. You can tell me what you want it to be about. I’m trying to get better a poetry and I promise I’ll take it seriously.

$50+  I’ll do a song cover for you, and you can pick the song! I’m limited to ukulele, guitar, melodica, xylophone, voice, and piano, I might have to transpose it because I’m a lazy butt, but I will try my best. I can record it and put it on the internet too, if you’d like.

$75+ I’ll write you a song. I love writing songs! Tell me what you want the song to be about, who you want me to dedicate it to, or whatever. If you ask me to write you a love song, I’ll just sing that Sara Bareilles song lol

If you want to sponsor me to do something else, ask! I’m open to doing Twitch streams, giving you a lock of my hair (weirdo), and doing sit ups until I die (no Mom, I won’t let you pay me to exercise). Any amount helps! Even a dollar is much appreciated.

And yes, I’m definitely going to paint a blue arrow on my bald head. If you’ve read this far, thank you! And you might as well donate two bucks since you’re already here.


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ViVien Bui 
San Francisco, CA
St. Baldrick's Foundation 
Registered nonprofit
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