Cutting hair for care

Since barber shops and hair salons are going to stay closed for a while, my roommate Kevin Ho and I decided to buy our own hair clippers, try cutting our own hair and livestream our very first attempt. We’ve always wanted to do something to help support our frontline health care workers, and coincidentally we saw North York General Hospital’s (NYGH’s) ad on Facebook during that time.

When we clicked the ad, we noticed the Cheng family Stronger Together matching campaign on the NYGH Foundation website and liked the idea of our donation being doubled. Also, many people in our school community live in the North York area and Kevin also used to live there, so we thought it would be cool to turn our livestream into a fundraiser for NYGH.

With a goal to raise $4,000, we decided to call our fundraiser “Cut for Care – Toronto COVID-19” and launched a fundraising page on April 29th. To promote it, we shared the link on Facebook, tagged all our friends and asked them to donate. We also contacted our close friends individually using WeChat and WhatsApp.

Based on the amount of donations we received, we let our donors decide on what type of haircut Kevin would get. Ranging from the least to most amount of donations, the options we offered were a regular haircut, buzz cut, complete shave/bald, “curtains” (shaving all the hair off except for a bit above the forehead), “the choo choo train” (a line shaved right down the middle of the head) and “the samurai.”

We ended up receiving more support than the $500 we had anticipated: 17 people donated and we raised $660! On May 9th, we live-streamed the haircut on Facebook. Kevin wasn’t nervous until right before he sat down in the chair. Since it was my first time cutting someone’s hair, he was more anxious about me accidentally injuring him rather than how his haircut would turn out. Fortunately, he didn’t get hurt in the process.

During the livestream, we wanted our viewers to get a laugh out of the whole process, so I decided to progress from “the choo choo train” to a complete shave. It was rather difficult to achieve the shiny bald look, so Kevin’s final hairstyle ended up being somewhere between a buzz cut and a complete shave.

A week after the livestream, I let Kevin cut my hair and choose whatever style he wanted. Both of us have been frequently taking part in meetings or church gatherings through Zoom, so people really got a kick out of our haircuts.

We would like to thank all who took part in the fundraiser, and on behalf of them, thank you to all the brave workers at NYGH for your hard work during this pandemic. Since we first decided to support NYGH, there has been no lack of stories coming in from our friends about the help they’ve received at NYGH over the years. We just hope our contribution will be able to provide some help to the frontline workers at NYGH during this time.

With gratitude,

Clarence Li and Kevin Ho

P.S. If you want to create your own fundraiser to support North York General Hospital’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund like Clarence and Kevin did, click here: https://bit.ly/3bv4iJa