Losing hair to raise funds for children with cancer

Childhood cancer survivor Jarenn Foo, now 19, with his father Zaric, 51, mother Maria Lim (wearing grey), 49, and Prof Chan (right), who shaved her head in solidarity with the younger Mr Foo.
Childhood cancer survivor Jarenn Foo, now 19, with his father Zaric, 51, mother Maria Lim (wearing grey), 49, and Prof Chan (right), who shaved her head in solidarity with the younger Mr Foo.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

No stranger to shaving his head, childhood cancer survivor Jarenn Foo faced the razor once again at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) last Friday.

But the 19-year-old did so together with his former doctor, Associate Professor Chan Mei Yoke, this time round and all for a good cause.

The duo were among a group of 51 employees and friends of the hospital who shaved their heads for a Hair for Hope charity event.

"I want to tell children with cancer that it is okay to be bald," said Mr Foo, who suffered from leukaemia in 2009. "When I am bald, I take it as a compliment that I am braver than others."

The charity event drew participants from all levels of the hospital, from KKH chief executive Kenneth Kwek to administrative staff.

Prof Chan, 53, who shaved her head in solidarity with Mr Foo, said she did it to support her patients and to show them that it is okay to be bald. The paediatric oncologist hopes more people will come forward to support cancer patients.

Medical staff from SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre's Paediatrics Academic Clinical Programme and KKH raised more than $197,000 at the event, the largest amount raised by organisations for Hair for Hope 2016.

Professor Kwek said: "This signature head-shaving event of Children's Cancer Foundation has been successful not only in garnering support from the community and raising awareness of what children with cancer go through, but also in raising funds to lessen the financial burden of families whose children have cancer."

In total, more than 60 organisations have pledged their support this year for Hair for Hope, which aims to have 6,500 participants and raise $3.6 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2016, with the headline 'Losing hair to raise funds for children with cancer'. Print Edition | Subscribe