By Katy Killilea
Rebekah Ham has beautiful hair. She’ll be shaving it all off this September with 45 other women equally devoted to children who’ve had cancer. She knows that a big group of women shaving their heads will raise money and awareness, and Bekah also considers it performance art. When 46 women get shaved in unison on say, Ellen or Oprah, it makes a statement.Â And that is what Bekah’s group 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave has set out to do. While raising a million dollars.
When Grace Carey, Bekah’s younger daughter, was about to enter kindergarten, she started having powerful, nauseating headaches. She was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and spent the next year in arduous treatment and recovery. Now that Grace (currently a busy Brownie and first grader at The Paul Cuffee School) is better, Bekah is committed to advocating for a cure. People ask her why–now that she is free to leave it behind–she doesn’t distance herself from the cancer world. Her response: “Children with cancer can’t advocate for themselves. Parents with kids in treatment have to focus on day to day survival. Parents whose children have died are coping with unimaginable grief. And, understandably,Â parents of survivors often need to run far and fast from the world of cancer for the sake of their families. People whoÂ can advocate have to step up.”
Women in the 46 Mommas are from all over the United States. (46 is not a random number–it’s the number of children diagnosed with cancer each school day.) Each of the 46 Mommas is, right now, in the process of raising $22,000 toward the group’s goal of a million dollars. For her part, Bekah asked forty friends to donate $40 each on her recent fortieth birthday. You’ll find her on Hope Street during the Hope for the Earth street festival on April 25th, raffling off the thrill of throwing out the first Paw Sox pitch of the 2010 season. She makes roses out of duck tape (when they’re not sold out, you can find them at Frog and Toad on the East Side) and a friend with a children’s book shop is contributing a portion of her profits to the 46 Mommas. Right up until shave-day in September, she’ll be working toward the $22,000 mark with gusto, creativity, and the attention of friends and strangers. Local businesses who would like to join forces with Bekah are invited to step right up!
Anyone who would like to contribute is welcome to do so, and more information can be found on the 46 Mommas team page,Â the group’s facebook page, or on NBC10, in Bekah and Grace’s recent interview with health reporter Barbara Morse Silva.
The 46 Mommas are working together as part of Saint Baldrick’s huge fundraising effort, which gathers millions of dollars each year to fund research into children’s cancer. Oprah or no Oprah, 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave will be an astounding part of that effort.