Correction: The original version of this article contained multiple errors. Participants asked their friends and family for donations in support of their wearing of bald caps throughout the day. All proceeds raised by the UCLA event will fund research at the Jonsson center.
After being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer a little more than a year ago, Rae Donin underwent five months of chemotherapy and lost all her hair.
“I never thought it would bother me to lose my hair … but it got to the point where I couldn’t stand going out (without a wig),” she said.
But on Friday, Donin, a UCLA alumna whose cancer is now in remission, put these feelings aside ““ she wore a bald cap to her workplace at the department of neurology.
She was joined by 18 other UCLA workers, faculty members and students who also sported bald caps throughout the day as part of the “Be Bold, Be Bald!” campaign to raise money for cancer research.
Donin said the event was important to her because it showed that being bald should not be a source of shame.
The UCLA team passed out gift bags in Bruin Plaza for part of the day as part of a nationwide event created by a foundation called Small Army for a Cure. The foundation has raised more than $250,000 for various cancer organizations since it formed two years ago.
This is the first time UCLA has participated in the campaign ““ this year, Small Army for a Cure organization invited the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center to be a beneficiary, said Rebecca de Haro, special events coordinator for the center.
Participants asked their friends and family to donate to the event to support their wearing of bald caps throughout the day.
All proceeds raised by the UCLA event will fund research at the Jonsson center, de Haro said.
The UCLA team aims to raise $5,000 for cancer research by the Nov. 15 deadline. As of Oct. 20, they had raised about $1,300.
Donin raised $700, the most out of anyone on the team, and said she plans to raise more before the deadline.
She said it was valuable for those who have not experienced baldness to try it for a day, to see what cancer patients experience.
“People with cancer don’t have a choice,” she said.
Sheila McDaniel Henry was one of the team members at the event in Bruin Plaza. Henry, the director of special gifts at the Jonsson center, has successfully combatted cancer twice.
During her senior year of high school, Henry was diagnosed with sarcoma, a cancer that arises from transformed cells in numerous tissues.
At age 19, she underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy during her sophomore year of college at the University of Notre Dame to fight off the cancer before being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36.
Through multiple surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, she fought off cancer a second time.
She has been cancer-free for 10 years.
Henry said people were very supportive of their event, with multiple people stopping to talk to her about the bald caps, or just giving a thumbs up as they passed by.
Although this year’s event was relatively small, organizers said they plan to participate again next year and build up a larger team.