In solidarity with cancer patients, including those with lymphoma, thousands of people throughout the U.S. are expected to sport bald caps Oct. 18 as part of an annual effort called “Be Bold, Be Bald!” to raise funds and awareness.
The event — held every year on the third Friday of October — calls for sponsors to support bald-cap wearers for their “bold” sartorial choice. The caps symbolize the hair loss that cancer treatments sometimes cause.
Proceeds go to more than 50 organizations and care centers around the country, including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society chapters in Austin, Texas, and Orlando, Fla. The American Cancer Society and the Colon Cancer Coalition also can be selected as fundraising beneficiaries.
Since the campaign’s 2009 founding, some 10,000 participants have raised more than $1.3 million.
“For the last decade, we have been fighting against cancer to support our many beneficiaries,” Jeff Freedman, campaign founder and owner of the Boston-based advertising agency Small Army, said in a press release. “We’re excited to celebrate this 10th year anniversary and continue to create awareness and increase the number of participants in this year’s Be Bold, Be Bald! Day.”
Some celebrities have already donned bald caps to show their support. Among them are TV personality Maria Menounos, journalist Joan Lunden, actresses Jessica Szohr and B.K. Cannon, musician Peter Wolf, and professional athlete Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots.
Those who wish to participate may do so by wearing a bald cap on Oct. 18 and enlisting support, or by making a donation on behalf of a patient who has lost his or her hair due to treatment. Participants are urged to use social media to tell others about their fundraising efforts.
To help raise funds and awareness, participants choose a cancer benefactor to support — joining a team, starting one, or going solo. Bald caps, which must be purchased — all are one-size-fits-all and cost $9 each — come in light and dark colors, and may be personalized. Kits, which including buttons and customizable posters, are available for $12. After getting friends and family to become sponsors, participants are encouraged to wear their bald cap all day on Oct. 18 to raise awareness and get others to join the effort.
Be Bold, Be Bald! was created by Small Army for a Cause, an organization founded in honor of Mike Connell, the advertising agency’s co-founder, who died from cancer in 2007.
“Witnessing Mike’s heroic two-year fight, we saw firsthand the courage and strength cancer patients have,” Freedman said. “He inspired us to continue that fight ourselves — and to do so in a way that would truly represent the boldness of Mike and his ideas.”