Hair today ... gone tomorrow
Cheyra Bell's drive is powerful on and off the pitch.
The footballer has 45 days to meet her target of raising $100,000 for the St Baldrick's Foundation.
On March 16, she will lose 30 inches of dreadlocks, which she has had for almost 15 years.
“I don't want people to think they're donating for me to cut my hair,” she said. “That's not the case. They're donating for cancer research.”
It's a dramatic gesture to meet an ambitious sum.
“That's just who I am as a person. Albert Einstein said, ‘Only a life lived for others is a life worth living.'
“I want to help as many people as I can, as many children as possible. When I started to look at figures and how much it costs for just an hour or a day's worth of treatment, it's fairly expensive. You're looking at $50 for just one day.
“I want to be able to help as many children to get their treatment, medication and the research that needs to be done for childhood cancers as much as possible.”
Ms Bell has chosen to honour Brennan Watkins, whose cancer battle was profiled in Lifestyle two years ago.
“He was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of 3,” she said. “He is now 5 and remains in treatment. His courageous battle against cancer inspired me to do more.”
Her hope is to reach the $100,000 mark before the head-shaving event at the Docksider Pub and Restaurant. Ms Bell had reached $1,700 at the time of publication.
Future fundraisers include a
potluck supper, a carwash and a bake sale. She isn't ruling out a football match.
“I have reached out to the president of the Bermuda Football Association to make him aware of what it is that I'm doing,” she said.
“I plan to present to several exempt companies, people who I feel would be inspired to donate and support the cause. I hope to come in contact with anybody that has been directly affected by childhood cancer — a survivor, or somebody that is in treatment.”
The 29-year-old government employee works at the Department of Child and Family Services and coaches the Bermuda Athletic Association under-15 boys' team.
She's played football “all my life”.
“As a little girl that's all I really wanted. I don't recall having any type of Barbie dolls — I had footballs,” laughed the former captain of the Bermuda women's football team.
Her talent got her a full scholarship to the University of Buffalo and then Howard University.
She was inspired to contribute to St Baldrick's by the children she coaches.
“I've never been personally affected by anyone with childhood cancer, so I had to do my own research,” she said.
“The fact that I'm so willing to help others and that I genuinely love children made it a very easy decision.”
She's looking forward to the “weight loss” the haircut on March 16 will bring.
“My hair is very heavy,” she said. “It's definitely going to be an experience but one I know I'm ready for, so I'm just going to embrace it.”
• Support Cheyra Bell at www.stbaldricks.org/participants/umoja or at The Docksider Pub and Restaurant. on March 16 between 5pm and 10pm. Contact her on Cheyra.firstname.lastname@example.org