Cancer charity Macmillan is battling a backlash to its fundraising campaign, ‘Brave the Shave’, which asks people to shave their heads to “stand proudly alongside men, women and children with cancer.”
So far this year, 22,000 people have been sponsored to shave their heads, raising £2.9m. Last year the campaign raised £4.4m.
However, The Times reports that a number of cancer survivors have said that the campaign is “patronising and offensive”.
“There is nothing brave about shaving your head. Shave your head, shave your eyebrows, pull out your eyelashes, endure surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy and all the never-ending, permanent side effects of treatment and even that’s not brave,” said artist and cancer survivor Rebecca Masterman. “We have no choice. It’s that or die — not much of a choice.”
The Fundraising Regulator is now looking at complaints made about the campaign this year after the charity received over 50 complaints last year for the same activity.
In response, Macmillan said ‘Brave the Shave’ is "not a chosen fundraising method for everyone”.
“We take all feedback very seriously and we will continue to conduct research with fundraisers and people affected by cancer to inform the development of this campaign in the future,” said a spokesperson.