September 28, 2021

Maddie: The long and short of it

Our creative supporters think outside the box to help fight poverty through education.

Maddie, a Communications and Editorial Specialist at St Jude’s for the last four and half years, has always had long, beautiful, curly hair.

Or she used to, anyway. In May 2020, she shaved her head to raise funds for St Jude’s and today she has short, beautiful, curly hair.

“When I told people, ‘I’ll shave my head if I can raise this amount,’ I got so many laughs because my hair was almost like my trademark. I had long, waist-length, massive, curly hair. I’d never had short hair,” Maddie recalls.

Despite the trademark status of Maddie’s hair, she considered it a small price to pay in order to help St Jude’s. “I knew I wanted to do a big fundraiser of some sort. I was supposed to go home last year for a visit in May, but then with COVID-19 I couldn’t and I knew I would be staying here (in Tanzania). So I thought, well, people could use a bit of a giggle!” Maddie laughs.

Before and after: Maddie shaved off her trademark locks in order to raise fund for St Jude’s.

Maddie created a GoFundMe page and shared it from her Facebook and Instagram accounts to encourage donations. Overnight, she hit her fundraising goal and her friends encouraged her to increase her goal. Soon, Maddie had raised $4,600 and decided it was time for the big shave.

“I borrowed some clippers but I forgot to put on the attachment to do a number six length. So I botched it completely and my hair was down to the scalp, as bald as you could go. It was so, so cold! But, there was also the feeling of elation, because I’d done something good for the school which was beyond just giving time and it’d brought a smile to people’s faces,” Maddie says.

Not everyone needs to shave their head in order to fundraise for St Jude’s, but Maddie has a few words for people considering any sort of fundraiser, “Put yourself out of your comfort zone. Do something different and wacky if you can and try to link in stories of the people here at St Jude’s. More than anything, the stories of our Tanzanian staff, students and graduates will convince people to donate and support. Put yourself out there, be brave and have a go,” she says.


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