Allen LaRose is looking for a few or more brave volunteers willing to lose their locks at this spring's home show in Maple Ridge.
The financial advisor/branch manager at Manion & Associates is hoping several helpers will sign up to have their heads shaved at the Ridge Meadows Home Show, held this year from May 3 to 5 at Albion Fairgrounds.
Each year at the home show, Manion & Associates hosts the Headshave for Cancer in support of the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation and Ridge Meadows Hospice Society.
LaRose said the fundraiser was organized by local firefighters, starting in 2001.
The volunteer group was made up mostly of emergency services personnel and RCMP members from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
LaRose originally got involved as a participant nearly a decade ago and since 2008, Manion & Associates has been the chief organizer, renting booth space and recruiting volunteer barbers.
In the early 2000s, most of the participants raised pledges, and those who didn't simply donated money. The combined dollar totals was usually "a respectable amount," LaRose said.
But support has dwindled in recent years.
"In the years that we haven't had a larger group committing and taking part, the amount of dollars raised has been significantly smaller," LaRose said.
Manion & Associates absorbs the cost of the booth rental and marketing the event, which includes producing posters and brochures. This ensures 100 per cent of the money raised go to the causes.
LaRose sacrifices roughly 150 hours of his own time to promote and organize the head shave, each year.
But in tougher economic times, LaRose is contemplating cancelling this year's fundraiser.
"It's getting to the point where we have to make a call: is it worth the effort and cost to put it on, if we're not going to have the commitment of participants?" Larose said. "If I'm going to cut a cheque to run a head shave, I'm wondering, well, am I better off just donating the money directly to the charities."
The crucial element moving forward is participants. "[These are] people who are willing to have their heads
shaved and go out and raise money, raise pledges," LaRose said. "I know from experience it doesn't take much to raise a couple hundred dollars in pledges per person."
To get involved, call LaRose at 604-463-6060 or email him at allen@ manion.ca.
Originally, funds raised from the head shave went to the local hospital's oncology department.
"But the hospital foundation came to us when we first took [the head shave] on and pointed out that cancer patients get treated by many parts of the hospital and not just the one department," LaRose explained.
And, at one time, the head shave solely benefited the hospital foundation.
Then it became apparent to LaRose, who was on the hospice society board, that more than 80 per cent per cent of the people the hospice works with are cancer patients and their families.
Whether the head shave goes ahead or not, LaRose plans on contributing to causes that have had a direct effect on his life.
In September 2002, his mom Dee was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As her condition worsened, Dee was admitted to Surrey Memorial Hospital, due to a lack of space in the palliative care unit at Ridge Meadows Hospital.
This was not ideal for Dee, according to her son, who said the best place for her would have been the McKenney Creek Hospice Facility, which did not exist at the time.
Dee died April 8, 2003.
After her death, because of the money raised from the head shave, Ridge Meadows Hospital acquired the equipment that would have treated Dee locally, instead of in Surrey.
The local hospital now has the equipment that would have allowed Dee to receive treatment in her own home.