Kate Robinson and Erica Phillips both know what it's like for someone close to them to go bald.
Robinson's father lost his hair during chemotherapy treatments for prostate cancer—a disease that took his life a week before her 16th birthday.
Her mother also endured hair loss while suffering from ovarian cancer.
"Right now, she's really healthy," Robinson says over the phone. "She's focusing on having an active lifestyle."
Phillips's mother also lost her hair while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
The two young women have decided to show solidarity with their parents by having their heads shaved in public on Saturday (July 6) at a B.C. Cancer Foundation fundraiser called the Underwear Affair.
It's designed to raise money for research into cancers below the waist, including prostate, testicular, ovararian, bladder, colorectal, pancreatic, uterine, and cervical tumours.
According to the B.C. Cancer Foundation, they account for nearly 48 percent of all diagnosed cancers in B.C. (More information is available here.)
But not everyone is enamoured with the idea of Robinson and Phillips having all the hair removed from their heads.
"A lot of people are saying 'I don't want to donate. I don't support what you're doing. That's so ridiculous that two young girls like you would want to shave your head'," Robinson said. "It's been really sad for us."
Robinson revealed that she came up with the idea after seeing how a woman was reluctant to shave her head for a massive sum of money on the TV show Fear Factor.
It struck her as absurd.
"There is so much more to live for than hair," she said. "So many people put so much value on it. It's not that important."
In the annual Underwear Affair, competitors dress down to their skivvies and run 10 kilometres or walk five kilometres around False Creek, starting at Lot 6C at 88 Pacific Boulevard. That's where the two women plan to have their heads shorn.
Robinson and Phillips are members of a 17-member team called Pirates of the Nether Regions, which has raised $70,000 at the Underwear Affair over the last three years.