Every once in a while, you meet someone online (usually on Twitter) who blows your mind and your heart wide open. And I’m not talking about Justin Bieber or Lady GaGa. I’m talking about Jennifer Nolan, a 16-year-old girl from New Jersey.
Just the other day, I was thinking about “how far would I go?” to raise money for my cause. Half marathon, sure. Marathon…next year, sure. Specifically, I was thinking about whether I would have the guts to shave my head. And I concluded, probably not. Then I was reading the #cancersucks thread on Twitter, and met Jennifer.
Jennifer would, in fact, shave her head for her cause. She did, just yesterday, to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and to donate the hair for a wig to be made for a little girl with cancer.
I find Jennifer so inspiring that I wanted to share her story with you. Isn’t she beautiful?
I asked Jennifer what inspired her to shave her head for cancer, and how it felt before and after.
I had to grow up a lot faster than most kids my age. I was very depressed for awhile, but I’ve been able to conquer that and see the beauty in everything and not care about what anyone says anymore.
What really inspired me was actually two things. The first was my grandmother. She passed away from what the doctors believe to be Lymphoma in May. She was 89. She was at peace and she didn’t want any treatment and she missed my grandpop so she wanted to go. And that changed my view on cancer.
Another thing was that I had a really bad concussion my freshman year of high school and I was constantly in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which is also world-renowned for its cancer research. Going in there and seeing all the little kids with cancer broke my heart into a million pieces. Every single one of those kids are beautiful and they don’t see it. They deserve to feel beautiful and giving them my hair is a way I can do that. Sure I can give money, but a four year old wants to feel normal.
I wasn’t really scared to do it. I was really nervous about doing it in front of everyone; I was shaking and literally sweating buckets up until I got it buzzed. All of my friends are so proud of me and it feels awesome. It’s just a great feeling knowing that you positively affected a large group of people; so many people are telling me I’m their hero and an inspiration. It’s just really incredible.
Jennifer, you are my hero and my inspiration, too. You’re just an amazing young woman and the world needs more like you. Thank you for having such a big heart, and for sharing your story.
Yesterday I made a donation to St. Jude’s in honor of Jennifer, and you can too, on her school’s page.
Blogger Geoff Livingston is known for, among other things, his punish Geoff fundraiser for which he dressed up in drag. How far would YOU go, for your cause?