Going bald for charity takes guts

GEORGE TOWN: Organic products shopowner Winnie Oon’s friends were shocked to find out that she was willing to go bald for the sake of charity.

The 52-year-old, who had blonde-dyed her hair, said her friends knew how much she loved and valued her long, luscious locks but still encouraged her to do her part for the Penang Adventist Hospital’s (PAH) Gutsy Bald charity event.

“I only learnt about the event, which was to raise funds for the hospital’s cancer fund for needy patients, on Thursday, and since I was inspired to contribute, I promptly registered myself.

“What was even more encouraging was that my friends had also pledged RM7,000 to the fund. So, I turned up at Gurney Plaza for the head shaving event with no hesitation, and I feel good about this as I’m doing it to help cancer patients in need,” she said.

Oon was among 100 people, comprising 67 men and 33 women, who wore “I am Gutsy” saffron-coloured T-shirts and went bald to raise more than RM600,000 for the cancer fund.

Another person who decided to go bald was Chuah Efu, 24, who works as the vice-principal of an old folks home in Jalan Air Itam known as the Persatuan Syukur Penyayang Pulau Pinang.

“We have 44 elderly residents staying with us at the moment, and 16 of them decided to volunteer and take part in the event. I also volunteered together with two of my colleagues,” he said.

PAH chief executive officer Albin Chua said he was happy with the response as a diverse tapestry of people, aged from nine to 89, brought their own unique story to the event.

“We only targeted raising RM200,000, but in the end, we managed to collect triple that amount. This year also marks our 100th anniversary as a poignant reminder that together, we are stronger, braver and more compassionate. I also decided to go bald in solidarity with the participants. I have to admit that going bald would not be easy, as shedding this outer layer means that we have to embrace our inner strength,” he said in his speech.

Also present were Penang social development, welfare and non-Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Lim Siew Khim and PAH Group president Ronald Koh, who was the event’s top fundraiser by raising RM93,800.

The public can still donate to the fund (https://howei.com/donation_listing/1216) until April 30.

For more information, call PAH at 04-222 7200.

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