I met 17 year old McKenzie this summer while working at the beach. She was like many I had seen over the years; she was bald, exhausted from chemo, but hopeful. Something caught my attention and started to stir in my heart. I checked in on Kenzie via social media, and slowly began to see what it was that was different with her. Her confidence and beauty came from her peace as a Proverbs 31 woman.
Seeing her beauty, I knew it had to be shared in a world where outer beauty directs our confidence level. One passion that God has given me is the heart of service and giving. So, not surprisingly, I will ask anyone for anything as long as it’s for charity (seriously, watch out). I decided to take a big leap and ask my team for help raising awareness for Be Bold Be Bald, an organization that recognizes the struggles of patients during cancer treatment, while raising funds for any chosen organization.
For us cheerleaders, hair is a part of our uniform and choreography. To the rest of society, hair can define a woman- we often turn down the vanity route to drive into identification and validation. It’s crazy to think that the outer image is the first worry for most female cancer patients battling for their life.The AFC decided to honor the beauty of women who don’t have control over their locks, and yet have more strength and confidence than our defensive line.
After making this decision, I’ll admit I was very scared but ready to embrace my baldness. I learned first hand how much value I place in my image by wearing that cap for just 17 hours. No, it was in no way close to how my friends suffered or the pain they have gone through while fighting their cancer battles. But, it was one way to jump way out of my comfort zone, feel the stares and dig for the confidence within. A confidence that seems to just radiate from survivors like Kenzie who walk daily with their chins high and head bald. I think that the beauty and esteem came from the same place where everyone says Jesus lives in your heart. Cheesy? Maybe. Truthful? Yes.
Charlie Renfroe, mentor to the great Andy Stanley and board member at one of my old nonprofits, always asks in his thick Alabama accent… “What are you working on BIG?” Big like outside of me. Big like you can do even more than you are dreaming up. Big like beyond the limits. Big like you’re living in God’s honor and showing love and support from Jesus. We know the spotlight is on us as cheerleaders. Even if the spotlight is the size of a flashlight or if a particular cheer group is what brings in the cash for their franchise, we have a light and we need to direct it in a big, positive way. My hope is to take hold of this fundraiser and spread it throughout the NFL. I can only imagine how much support, awareness and funds we could raise if a few cheer teams took on the Be Bold Be Bald challenge. Take a look at the night we surprised Kenzie and her mom at the Dome with 42 bald caps- bald, beautiful and totally inspired to think big.
So… Whatcha workin on BIG people?