Geoff Eaton was diagnosed with cancer when he was in his 20s.
He had the love and support of his family, but he felt like he had no one to talk to about the unique challenges facing young adults with cancer.
That is why Eaton founded Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC), an organization dedicated to bringing together young adults with cancer and creating the connections that can equip them to cope.
YACC has online resources, social events and four-day retreats.
“We’re way over one million (online) visits so far,” Eaton said, adding thousands more have participated in the social programs.
“The most powerful, transformational things we do are those four-day retreats. Connecting with other people who are just like them is really transformational, super powerful.”
For the first time, a retreat is scheduled for Simcoe County next month for young adults from across Canada.
It is all funded by events such as Shave for the Brave, a challenge that asks participants to raise funds and then get the “most powerful haircut of their lives,” and by donating 25 centimetres or more of their hair, or shaving their heads.
W.H. Day Elementary School in Bradford West Gwillimbury hosted Shave for the Brave on June 5.
Approximately 33 people stepped up to be clipped or shaved by volunteer stylists from local salons, helping raise more than $6,000 for YACC.
Among those going bald were Paula Ferguson, co-chair of the parent council, and her son, Bobby. “My sister-in-law passed away seven years ago of lung cancer,” said Ferguson. “My kids didn’t get to know her. This is a beautiful way for them to honour her life and get to know her.”
This was the third year W.H. Day has hosted a Shave for the Brave.
Eaton spoke to the students and handed out the yellow Shave for the Brave toques to every participant, telling them the “most powerful haircut of your life” would make it easier for them to get ready in the morning, improve aerodynamics when running, and “most importantly, help other people who really need it.”