Author: Kirsten Barber
On a warm spring morning in early April, Laura Grater, an engineering team lead for the North Carolina Emergency Management Hazard Mitigation section, took her place in a barber’s chair at Raleigh Beer Garden for what some would consider a life changing event.
Grater was shaving her head as part of a Raleigh-based Saint Baldrick’s Foundation fundraising event. A non-profit organization, Saint Baldrick’s works with healthcare experts to determine the most promising research to fund and create funding priorities to make the greatest impact for children with cancer. Community involvement for Saint Baldrick’s can take the form of head-shaving events like the one Grater participated in, private fundraisers and advocacy.
April’s event marked Grater’s third time shaving her head and fundraising for Saint Baldrick’s. She first learned about the organization in 2013, when she decided to attend her first event for the cause. Twice Grater has been able to donate her hair to be used to make wigs for individuals with hair loss, which she says makes the experience even sweeter since she’s contributing to two causes at once. In total, Grater has raised $3,015 from all her events.
According to Saint Baldrick’s, head-shaving events are their most popular form of fundraiser, and thousands participate every year either in person, virtually or shave solo at home. Grater says she enjoys being a “shavee” at events, even if she is the only female.
“It feels good and is a fun event for me,” Grater said. “Most people who shave their heads are guys, and sometimes at the events they’ll get the crowd involved to bid on shaving beards and eyebrows off as well. I enjoy helping the cause as a female participant and spreading awareness.”
Since this isn’t her first time participating in a head-shaving event, Grater admits that she has wigs to wear to work or other events as needed, but for the most part she enjoys rocking her shaved head.
“It’s funny at events when people come and rub my head because it is so soft,” Grater joked. “I sometimes will get looks after an event, but I don’t care if someone wants to ask me about my shaved head. It gives me the chance to share why I think the organization is important and encourage people to participate as a shavee or other type of volunteer.”
Since she has participated in multiple events, Grater shared that she has been inducted into the organization’s League of Legendary Heroes as a “Squire of Hope.” Though it’s all in good fun, she is honored for the recognition and says that she plans to continue to participate in head-shaving fundraising events – and maybe even advance her rank.