Why I PMC - Samantha White

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Bill Alfano

Why I PMC - Samantha White

Guest post by Samantha White

Growing up I always looked forward to watching my dad bike in the Pan-Mass Challenge and as the years went on I saw my brothers Ryan and Josh join him each summer.  When it was my turn to finally ride with him I couldn't stop talking about how excited I was to finally bike.  As a high school athlete at the time I was under the impression that the 70 mile ride between Borne to Wellesely would be a cake walk, but as training went on I quickly realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew.  That year I dropped out before June and decided to volunteer at a water stop instead. Discouraged with myself and lack of effort that year I was determined to conquer the ride the next year and each year after that.  Although I was only able to do a few years here and few there in between volunteering, it was always my goal to bike for the whole weekend. 

I remember the day I told my dad I wanted to bike for both days in the PMC and not just volunteer one day, ride the next which was our traditional routine.  His eyes were soft and truthfully filled with doubt as I promised him I would take the fundraising seriously and would commit to raising my part on my own.  That year my family went from having a minimum fundraising requirement of $3,000 to $8,000 so it was time to get creative! 

During a Relay for Life event through Bridgewater State I saw the fraternity men of Sigma Pi pledge to shave their hair if they raised a certain amount of money for Relay.  I though out loud "I wounder how much money a girl could raise if she offered to shave her hair?" The responses ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 and that's when I knew how I was going to fund raise for that years upcoming PMC. I pledged through multiple forms of social media that if I was able to raise $4,000 before the PMC weekend I would buzz off my long locks.  It wasn't before long that I was sitting in a chair at a salon starting a Facebook live video, my stylist with clippers in hand. 

Shaving off all of my hair was hands down one of the scariest moments of my life, but it was in that moment I thought about each woman and girl who has ever had to unwillingly say goodbye to their hair due to chemotherapy.  My good friend Samantha Prescott, who passed away from Stage IV brain cancer, had gorgeous curly blonde hair that I envied but I always remember the confidence she had even after her hair was long gone.  I was no longer shaving my hair for money, I was shaving my hair to show people like Samantha that there is nothing to be ashamed of, hair is hair, it doesn't define your beauty or your worth