And I need your help to prepare for the big day.
In June, we’ll gather up the whole family and fly out to California so I can marry my cousin…marry him to his fiancé, that is. I guess I should say that I’m going to perform my cousin’s wedding, but where’s the fun in that?
As I draft their ceremony, I remember our wedding, for which we wrote our vows the night before on Grammy’s kitchen table. I also recall Mom’s only question on my wedding day was why I couldn’t shave my beard for just that one day.
It won’t be for my wedding day, but I could make Mom’s wish come true on the wedding day of my cousin–Mom’s nephew. I’m sure she’ll smile down on the day, but her smile will be even brighter if she can see my clean shorn chin wagging as I lead them through their vows, and that’s where you come in.
If I have raised $3,500 to make cancer history by May 1, I will shave my beard. Donate today.
And for those of you who have had the misfortune of knowing me well, here are your bonus prizes:
I know that I don’t have much hair to offer up in this deal, but trust me when I say it makes a difference. Every day that I’m bald–and I keep it off through the ride in August–someone at work greets me with, “You lose a bet?” or “Go to a frat party this weekend?” or “I remember the first time I got drunk too.”
And I’m all too glad to laugh with them, because I know that somewhere else someone else is also bald–and alive. And they’re alive because of you and the money you gave.
Every year I’ve done this ride, I’ve made the mistake of thinking that this couldn’t be more personal or closer to my heart. Cancer killed my father, after all. It was cancer that made me watch, stricken, as my young cousin broke down delivering the eulogy at the funeral of her father–my uncle–when she was half the age I was when cancer took Dad from me.
That uncle is also the uncle of the cousin I’m marrying…er, officiating at the wedding of…and while I won’t profess to speak for him, I can’t imagine he’d be disappointed to see my bald chin–and head and legs–in front of him that day, knowing the money went to hunt down his uncle’s killer.
Having gone with Mom to visit my uncle as cancer was draining him, as it drained Dad, having watched with Mom as her brother wheeled his IV stand through the house with him as he came out to meet us, having sat with Mom in the pew at her brother’s funeral, I say with great confidence that she would be happy not only to see me clean shaven, but also to know that’s a sign that we’re all working together to make cancer history.
You can’t bring my uncle back, but you might save someone else’s uncle. Or brother. Or child. And I know that you will make Mom happy when you donate today.