Does anyone else dislike the Macmillan Brave the Shave campaign?

Good evening everyone

I have seen two Macmillan TV adverts this evening, as well as lots of adverts on their Facebook site - and this website - for Brave the Shave,

This is encouraging people to raise money for people affected by cancer by shaving their head - it has fostered a climate where people think it is showing support to people who have lost their hair by doing this too.

Even my own daughters offered to shave their heads when they knew I was to have chemo and lose my hair - talk about brainwashing!

I can't think of anything that would have made me more upset than to see them lose their hair too.

I have pretty much powered my way through 8 cycles of DC and had every side effect it could throw at me, one stay of a week in hospital, and four times they called me in because of various things, two bad reactions in the chair - but the one thing that reduced me to tears wasn't being told I had cancer, it was being told I would lose all my hair in the second week of the first cycle.

And I don't need to tell any of you how hateful I found having huge handfuls come out in the shower (and I had short hair so hadn't thought it would be so horrid).

And then your eyebrows and eyelashes go - and your femininity feels like it's being stripped away bit by bit.

Frankly I find people who say they will get their head shaved as support, and that say they do it to "share" our experience haven't a clue! They might choose this, we haven't chosen it - and wouldn't.

It may sound over the top to some of you, but I find this whole campaign offensive, insensitive and patronising - particularly seeing people smile while having their head shaved, and people cheering. I didn't smile, and my daughter and husband didn't feel like cheering when they shaved my head.

Ok I'm cool with my look now - the very shiny head (not a short razor clipped look) - but I would prefer not to have had to experience any of this.

If you agree - please let me know.

I have messaged Macmillan previously and never even had a response. I've commented on Facebook under their posts in the past urging people to find fun ways to raise money (and there are so many) and not to do this for me.........and there is always a huge response in terms of "likes" and comments from people in our reluctant community.

If people are with me - maybe we can convince Macmillan to stop this barbaric approach to fund raising. Either like this post or put a comment of support please - if you don't agree, that's fine, no need to do anything!

Well - that's my rant over - you might have noticed I feel a tad passionate about this!

  • Hi judy 

    I was lucky enough not to have chemo but I agree, it's a bit facile. 

    I think it's on a par with men strapping on a fake belly so that they can experience childbirth. 

    I don't know who thinks up these things but I think they need to have a word with themselves. 


    I am not medically qualified, please consult your doctor or undertake your own research.

  • Hi Judyr58, I totally understand where you are coming from. Those adverts make me cringe! Losing hair, through no choice of your own is VERY different to doing it to make money for charity. I am very grateful to everyone who helps raise money for Charity, but I do think there are better ways of doing it. I hated losing my hair back in 2013/2014 but having my sisters or mum offering to shave their hair too, would not of helped support me in any way!

    I think it's very difficult for charities to find ways of advertising and supporting without upsetting someone. So I suppose we have to learn to take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture. Which is they are making money for a very good cause.

    I for one hate the breast cancer month in October, when every time you switch on the TV/radio there is an advert about beating breast cancer and how we will win the fight etc etc. Breast Cancer is portrayed as something Pink and Fluffy!! Well it's not either of those to me, it's a disease that took away the life I enjoyed and loved. In return it has given me a life of uncertainty, full of treatment that I don't like or enjoy! But that I have to endure, if I want to keep living as long as I can. Not so Pink and Fluffy!! 

    Thanks for starting this post and being so honest, I think there are a lot of women who share these views, but are too worried to say anything, as we all know at the end of the day they are doing this for a good cause! 

    I personally enjoyed doing the Macmillans Night In, a chance to get together with friends and family and Celebrate Life :) and just have a good time, while making money for a great cause!

    Wishing you all the best for the future xx

    Stay Safe, Stay Alert and Stay Loopy Xxxx
  • Thanks Londonlass - I totally agree that they are doing it for a good cause and don't want to belittle anyone who has done this or the money they have raised.

    I just wish that other more fun ways are publicised rather than this one.......

    Wishing you all the best for the future too xx

    Judy xx

    "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it" Roald Dahl


    I've been looking at the ad on the Macmillan site and feeling something wasn't quite right about the Brave the Shave but you've done a great job describing what's so unsettling about it.

    If people were shaving off their hair to make wigs for people who've lost their own hair, I might feel more positively about it. I am reminded of the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' for Motor Neurone Disease a few years back which just left me feeling that it raised a lot of money but very little awareness. I guess if they'd made the MND challenge one to 'sit in a chair all day, don't move and don't speak' the videos on Facebook wouldn't have been very interesting but people might have stopped to think about what it would be like to have the illness.

    Best wishes


    “Scars are tattoos with better stories.” – Anonymous

  • Hi Judy and all..

    I'm in the position of having had my Husband become a 'Brave Shaver' last summer whilst i was recieving chemo. 

    He announced his plan and then began organising a BBQ event which we held at our home, inviting all our family and friends...he actually raised ££££s, to his credit....but i hated every second of it, so much it made me feel sick to my stomach watching it.

    He became more animated and excited as the event neared...putting the countdown on Social Media, and telling everyone how "scared" he was becoming at becoming bald. He had his head shaved yes...but as you say it didn't strip him in any of the ways the effects of chemo did to me. I didn't say anything as he truly had all the best intentions and it gave him something to focus on through some very tough times for both of us.

    I cried when he'd done not sure if that was purely at his attempts to try empathise with how i felt -(big fail) - and he has a good heart, or relief it was all finished.

    What made me very angry though was his mum crying as she watched him...saying "what have you done to yourself, you look awful"...hhmm.

    Would i encourage others to do the same fundraiser as they support their loved one going through definitely not, it's too hard to process at the time and i remember having to really fight to quell my anger and upset towards him. I thought him to be a complete insensitive arse.

    I guess its difficult to think of novel ways to fundraise and Macmillan do a fantastic job of it...but its not appropriate to all.


    Look a new day has begun...

  • Oh Jo that's such a sad story - Your story eloquently epitomises what I was trying to say and feel.

    I totally agree Macmillan do an amazing job with fundraising and of course with how they support cancer sufferers and we would all be the poorer without them.

    I just wish they would push all the other ideas they have rather than this one - I honestly don't think many people understand how emotive and insensitive this one can be.

    Judy xx

    "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it" Roald Dahl

  • I get where you are coming from ladies. 

    My daughter (year 6) had a 'wig Wednesday' at school to raise money For CLIC. I'm all for raising money to fund research etc but I was really put out having to find some silly wig for my daughter to wear on her head. In protest I send her in with one of my wigs. It turns out that she was called up in assembly and congratulated on being brave whilst her mum went through treatment. She said she was so embarrased By it. A nice thought, but .... 

    Cancer may start the fight but you can finish it

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to Judyr58

    I am totally in favour of any type of fundraising but I find this campaign patronising and misguided. Having just lost my hair, I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

    I also think that the majority of people who brave the shave will be men not women, and of course they will be doing it entirely out of choice. For them it will be fun and a bit of a laugh.

    I am new to hair loss and I'm sure I will get used to it but at the moment (after I've got rid of the hair on my pillow, in the plug hole and all over my clothes) when I look in the mirror, I don't see me anymore. I see someone in a headscarf or wearing a wig and I see someone sick and someone everyone else feels sorry for, which is ironic as the chemo side effects aren't hitting me all that hard and physically I feel pretty good. 

    People seem to have a horrible fascination with the hair loss. The first thing a lot of people ask me isn't about the cancer or how I'm feeling, but about hair. 

    I feel that the Brave the Shave campaign trivialises something that is very upsetting to a lot of people and also makes it feel abnormal - it's something so horrendous you'd have to be paid to go through it. Hair loss isn't on a par with sitting in a bath of baked beans - it's genuinely upsetting and destroys people's confidence and sense of self. 

    There must be better fundraisers - why do people have to be sponsored to do anything when they could just make a donation?

  • Hi Fi

    It's so horrid when you lose your hair and how you lose it - I don't think any of us found it easy.

    I lost mine 6 months ago and am a lot easier about it now - you will hopefully feel more comfortable in time.

    Glad you aren't suffering too many side effects.

    Totally agree with all you have said as well!

    Big hugs and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Judy xx

    "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it" Roald Dahl

  • I was fortunate enough (I hope) to avoid chemo so got through treatment hair intact. But I totally agree with the other concerns about this campaign.

    Even before I had cancer I was upset to see others shave their heads for charity, particularly children. I admire their fundraising ethos but a campaign like this puts pressure on loved ones and others to shave their heads or look like they don't care by keeping their own hair.

    And as many have said, voluntarily shaving your head in no way helps you realise what it's like to go through cancer, in particular the enormity of having to loose your hair whilst also dealing with all the other challenges of cancer. I think increasing the number of people shaving for charity just belittles the deep and complex experience of those who have no option.

    I have been so grateful to MacMillan for the work they do, but I think this campaign is one they shouldn't have launched.