By Stew Slater
The “Bald or Blue” campaign, a colon cancer fundraiser and awareness effort being held at St. Marys Memorial Hospital in support of site leader and Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) Emergency Room Program Director, Shirley Veenendaal, will culminate on Friday, Jan. 11.
The event will be held in the front lobby of the hospital from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Four hairstylists from St. Marys and area will be at the hospital to “shave and dye” those people who wish to participate.
Since the campaign began in November, 2012, supporters have been encouraged to collect pledges from friends, family members and colleagues, towards changing their hairstyle to either bald or blue. Blue is recognized as the colour signifying the struggle to find a cure for colon cancer.
Veenendaal is currently on a medical leave absence to receive treatment for colon cancer.
Janet van Koot, one of the event’s organizers and a long-time co-worker of Veenendaal’s, says about a dozen staff members at St. Marys Memorial have signed on to have their hairstyle altered in some way.
That includes herself and fellow Emergency specialist Cheryl Long — the only female staff members, so far, who have said they’ll take the “bald” route.
Joining them in having their locks shorn will be — if all goes as planned — Dr. Jon Schiedel. And, speaking to the Journal Argus earlier this week, van Koot said Dr. Peter Johnston may also have a surprise in the works for Jan. 11.
A highlight of the day on Friday, certainly, will be the determination of whether Dr. Chuck Gatfield will go “Bald or Blue.” At 2 p.m., the results of a public vote will be revealed, and the St. Marys Memorial Medical Chief of Staff will face either the sheers or the hair dye.
Voting is still ongoing for the fate of Gatfield’s hair. Ballots are $2 each and are available at the Admitting desk inside the front door of the hospital.
All HPHA employees and members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend the Bald or Blue event.
If you don’t want to lose all your hair or go completely blue, the volunteering hairstylists will come prepared to offer up other options — including blue extensions or single blue streaks.
You’ll also be able to purchase one of the 100 handmade blue toques, created by retired Memorial Hospital nurse Judy Rankin in support of the campaign.
“Your participation is paramount to the success of this worthwhile campaign,” said van Koot. “See you all on Jan. 11!”