Hello! My name is Kathleen, and I’ve been an HTP follower for a few years.  I was especially intrigued by Caitlin’s The Naked Face Project (when she gave up makeup, shaving, and all forms of primping for sixty days). I keep it very basic in my own routine; I wear a ponytail most of the time and hardly ever put on make up. Looking nice is important to me, but as a busy college student, I’m finding that my time is put to better use when I exercise, study, or catch a quick nap instead of doing hair or make up.


I’ve learned a lot about my self-confidence since I was in high school. I found that getting involved in service projects encouraged me to think of others. I became more involved in my parish’s high school youth group and also volunteered at a local hospital delivering flowers to patients’ rooms. At the time, I didn’t actually search these projects out in order to increase my self-confidence, but in hindsight, it was perfect timing. Connecting with other teens in the youth group gave me the true friends I needed at the time, and delivering flowers to sick patients pushed me to think about others and their battles. Overall, these experiences connected me with people who increased my awareness of others’ situations.


Bringing this to the present, I am now a senior in college and at a happy place with myself.


As a personal project, I decided to participate in an event for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. As a ‘shavee,’ I raised money for childhood cancer research – more than $4,000 – and then I shaved my head at an event on March 9th.



While I have no personal connections with childhood cancer, I am part of my school’s chapter of Relay for Life, a key fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, so I am quickly gaining a greater understanding of the impact cancer has in people’s lives.


This event supports a great cause, but this is just one of several reasons I chose to participate. Personally, I am considering this event to be my own The Naked Face Project. Though happy with my body, there are always those moments of self-consciousness and insecurity. By choosing to shave my head for a good cause, my baldness will act as a daily reminder to completely be myself. I hope that this challenge to myself will be a moment to grow in my respect for my body and its health. Similar to my experience volunteering at the hospital, it is an event that encourages me to look beyond myself and consider others’ situations. It lasts longer than just having an ah-ha moment for one day, and then letting it fall to the wayside.


Additionally, I recently applied to several occupational therapy programs for graduate school. In my future career, I will meet people working to adapt to a new lifestyle due to disease, disability, and injury. If they should be frustrated by their situation, I want to at least begin to understand their perspective of missing something that is important to them and overcoming that hurdle. Willingly shaving my head is, of course, very different than losing my hair due to illness, but the experience has helped me gain some perspective. Already I am surprised by how people treat me differently because of my new appearance, but each time is a learning experience for how I want to interact with patients. By participating in a St. Baldrick’s event, I hope to learn how to be strong and patient, just like the kids I’m supporting, and to carry this lesson on to my future profession.


CaitlinHTP here – I just think Kathleen’s perspective is great, and I love her commitment to pushing her boundaries to discover herself while helping others.  Even though Kathleen’s head is already shaved, you can still donate to the St. Baldrick’s foundation in her honor.  St. Baldrick is the same organization supported by the lovely Headbands of Hope – they do great things!



  • Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution March 13, 2013, 12:53 pm

    Girls who shave their head for Cancer — be it to raise money, or just to support a loved one — are my HEROES! And they ALWAYS look adorable! Kathleen looks adorable — inside and out 🙂

  • Jess March 13, 2013, 12:55 pm

    Wow you are brave…I would have never been able to just cut my hair bald 😛

  • Emily March 13, 2013, 12:56 pm

    Such a great story! Kathleen, you are so beautiful, inside and out! I just donated to a woman I work with who is doing this on Saturday 🙂

  • mindy @ just a one girl revolution. March 13, 2013, 1:15 pm

    Amazing. Brava, Kathleen – you are a stronger woman than I!

  • Sara March 13, 2013, 1:18 pm

    Great story! I wrote an article for a class in college about St. Baldrick’s. It was a really great story, talking to participants and fundraisers for the large event they held in Richmond, Va.

  • alli March 13, 2013, 1:27 pm

    what a great experience! thanks for sharing this. i thought, “she is pretty”, when i saw that first picture of her (with her hair)….BUT the first picture of her *after* it was shaved, is beautiful! such a look of joy & happiness. just goes to show that beauty on the inside radiates and shines through.

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action March 13, 2013, 1:37 pm

    Wow- this is an amazing story! I can’t imagine shaving my head- the idea alone terrifies me!

    Good luck with graduate school!

  • Lauren Bailey March 13, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Your amazing!

  • Aishah @ Coffee, Love, Health March 13, 2013, 2:16 pm

    Wow, very humbling. So courageous and inspiring!

  • Karen @ Runner Girl Eats March 13, 2013, 2:31 pm

    So brave! I offered to shave my head when my mother went through chemo for breast cancer. Luckily she has lots of super thick hair so neither of us never had to go through with it. She kept her hair and kicked cancers ass! My hero.

  • Shelby March 13, 2013, 2:33 pm

    This is awesome. I had a girlfriend who lost her mom to cancer when we were in grade school. I want to say it was two years ago now that she pledged to shave her beautiful, long, curly brown hair off if she raised her funding goal for a Breast Cancer walk. She did reach (and exceed) her goal, shaved her head and has kept her hair pixie short since then. She’s adorable. You ladies are amazing and so self-less!

  • Lee March 13, 2013, 2:46 pm

    That’s awesome! One of my friends did it last year or the year before.

  • Patricia March 13, 2013, 2:50 pm

    Wow, you look great with no hair!! Amazing and brave, Congratulations!

  • Janelle March 13, 2013, 3:20 pm

    Awesome. Also, this reminds me of your neighbor, Tonya – any updates on her?

  • Ashley March 13, 2013, 3:39 pm

    What a beautiful girl – inside and out.

  • Sara March 13, 2013, 4:53 pm

    You go, Kathleen! What an awesome person you are! You look beautiful with the bald head.

  • Lindsay March 13, 2013, 5:05 pm

    Some people cannot pull off being bald. YOU LADY! You CAN!,, you look so beautiful. You are amazing Kathleen! I’m so inspired. I may follow your lead some time soon :).

  • Ani March 13, 2013, 7:32 pm

    This is so inspiring! Charity work truly adds another meaning to life. I am running the Chicago Marathon in October for Dance Marathon which is the largest organization at the University of Iowa. Throughout the year we raise money to end pediatric cancer and it culminates at a 24-hour event where we are not allowed to sit or consume caffeine FOR THE KIDS. Last year, we raised $1.5 million dollars and I love being part of such an amazing organization. For anyone that has not done charity work, get involved! It will change your life.

  • Miranda @ Miranda Runs March 13, 2013, 7:56 pm

    What a great story! Kudos to you for going through all of that and getting stronger from it 😀

  • Amber March 13, 2013, 8:14 pm

    I shaved my head while I was in the peace corps for similar reasons! I was able to donate to locks of love while working on my conceptions of beauty, so it was a win-win. Good luck with everything and thanks for sharing!!!!!

  • Art @ Fit at Fifty March 13, 2013, 9:01 pm

    Wow !
    She is mature way beyound her years.

  • Reenielou March 13, 2013, 9:39 pm

    Yea Kathleen!!

  • Sarah @climbinvegan March 13, 2013, 10:00 pm

    you are beautiful! I’m so proud of you! I almost did this today too, but chickened out!

  • Susan March 13, 2013, 10:36 pm

    You rock, Kathleen! Your words and your pictures are powerful!

  • Allison @Can't Wait For Breakfast March 14, 2013, 12:51 am

    So Cool! Go OT! I’m an OT and love my job everyday! 🙂

  • Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa March 14, 2013, 8:14 am

    Amazing story, Kathleen, and way to take a big bold step to help create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

    You are absolutely stunning with no hair! It is a good look for you.

  • jennifer March 14, 2013, 8:58 am

    you go girl 🙂

  • Stefanie March 14, 2013, 12:00 pm

    This really resonates with me.
    After my youngest sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last September at the age of 19, my whole world crumbled. Witnessing her endless, incredible strength through the process continues to be the most powerful thing in my life. Both my other sister and I (three of us total) shaved our heads in solidarity. Living across the country from each other throughout this has been especially hard, but my shaved head has definitely kept me grounded and present for her. It’s a constant reminder of the battle my sister is fighting, and what a warrior she is. My shaved head has definitely helped me feel more connected to my sisters through this entire nightmare.

  • Sara March 14, 2013, 12:09 pm

    You are truly the definition of a beautiful person inside and out. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • lynne @ lgsmash March 14, 2013, 12:33 pm

    Kathleen – I love your story – you are an inspiration! You’re going to make a fantastic OT with an outlook like you have. Kudos!

  • Catherine @ A Two Storey Home March 14, 2013, 2:21 pm

    Go, girl. As others have said, you are seriously beautiful…inside and out!!

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