Safe Shave has been created to work with barbers across the UK, offering safe spaces for those affected by hair loss due to cancer treatments, allowing cancer sufferers to take some control during the process of hair loss and regrowth. One of its founders, Anna Colao tells us more about her mission with husband and co-founder, Reg Regler.
Safe Shave is about more than just hair; it is about asking questions about our very identity and reason for being. Having been extremely sick, I have discovered that we live in a society where we suppress sickness and death and would rather look away than see the reality of living with cancer.
Being diagnosed with cancer at 35 was a massive shock. I felt as though someone had smashed a mirror over me, yet I started to see my reality in a new light. Every moment, action and emotion became incredibly precious and clear. I set my intention to learn through my experience and embrace the pain, fear, anxiety and utter devastation that was to follow. Having toyed with meditation and Tibetan Buddhism over the previous two decades, I felt I had some coping tools and the ability to embrace this experience.
Cancer does not discriminate but we do – all the time. We constantly pass judgement on physical attributes and material possessions, whilst simultaneously living in fear of being judged. It is hard to find the space and presence of mind inside to be more open and empathetic, both towards others and ourselves.
This realisation lead me to the decision to take control of my physical and mental state and I set up Safe Shave. The project echoes the desire to take control, not just for the person living with cancer but for the barbers and society in general, embracing what is uncomfortable to deal with. Through doing so we can develop an empathy that allows us to heal emotionally and transform our obstacles into opportunities.
Safe Shave asks the question: how will you treat the next person who walks in the room? Will you feel what’s real?
Our aim is:
To support cancer patients to take control of hair loss and find safe spaces to shave – if they choose to
To create a network of barbers across the UK who are committed to making their barber shops a safe space for those experiencing the trauma of cancer and hair loss
To offer appointments that are ring-fenced for safe shave clients
To offer webinars, information packs, merchandise, stickers and sign-posting for barbers who want to join the Safe Shave family
To explore and promote the Penny Brohn UK Bristol Whole Life Approach when dealing with cancer as we all need more than medicine in our lives
To highlight the need to treat people without discrimination in daily life
To celebrate and support barbers as the unsung counsellors to the masses
You can contribute to their crowdfunding campaign here.