Emily Chapman isn't your typical teenager. She recently decided her beauty wasn't as important as the noble cause of fighting cancer. She has beautiful locks, but she promised her friends and family that she'd buzz off all her hair if she raised a certain amount of money for Fred Hutch.
Did you ever feel like there was a time you might give up on your project?
I was a little uncertain at putting the fundraiser goal at $1000, doubtful that I would be able to reach it, but to my shock, I ended up reaching it within a day and a half. When I had reached about $500, that is when [our family friend] Steve Martin contacted me and said he would do his hair, too, if I reached $1,500. Once he did that, my dad said, 'Heck if you reach $3,000 I will do mine too.'
Once I got to $2,500, Washington Masonic Youth Charities said they would match donations up to $300, which put me a little over $3,000. I really didn’t expect it to take off like it did, but I am so glad that so many donated and supported me.
I am tired of people losing to this horrible disease, and we literally need to cut out cancer! I am hoping that Fred Hutchinson’s Cancer Research will soon find a cure. I do modeling and was a little hesitant thinking I may not be able to do that without my hair, but the message and the cause were much more important to me. Go big or go home.
How did you overcome it all?
Shared it like crazy to everyone I knew. I even had my mom make little business cards that I could hand out at school.
Did you fail before you triumphed in the end?
This fundraiser is more than just for Fred Hutch but also for self-love and empowerment. I wouldn’t say I failed but certainly felt less than I should about myself, my looks, what people thought of me--what most teenagers go through every day I’m sure. I wanted to do this because I have come to realize that my hair, my body type, my skin tone does not define who I am.
I want everyone to know that beauty is from within. What you do, what you say, how you treat people--that is what defines you. Cancer should not define who a person is, cancer patients who go through chemo have no choice but to lose their hair. I have a choice and want them to know that they are beautiful and to wear it proud. Beauty is not the rent you pay to exist in this world, this is one of my favorite quotes, although I don’t know who it is by.
What can we do to help?
Volunteer, donate, share the fundraiser, or make chemo care packages. Be nice to one another. We all have differences and that is what makes us unique.
Who inspires you?
My friend Cheyenne Bolding has been fighting leukemia for quite a while now. Fred Hutch saved her life. She is a little younger than I am and goes to a different high school, but she is my sister through our youth organization. When she went through chemo she had to shave her hair, and people at her school treated her differently. She was bullied because of losing her hair and just looking different without them even understanding why!
It saddens me that kids can be so cruel when all she is trying to do is survive this horrible disease, trying to lead as normal life that she can, and trying to fit in just as most of them are.
What are the groups you turn to for guidance or assistance?
International Order of Rainbow for Girls and Job’s Daughters International has been a huge part of my life since I was probably 5 years old. Being involved with both groups, we do lots of service in the community and throughout the state.