Show your support for a cancer survivor


  • Download English FAQs (to be updated Jan 2018)

1. How often is CANSA Shavathon held?

Shavathon takes place once a year. Dates for 2018 are 26th February – 2nd March 2018 (workplaces / private Shavathon events) / 24th February 2018 for public events (25th February at certain venues only). This is our 15th CANSA Shavathon event. Come celebrate with us to make it the best Shavathon!

2. How did Shavathon come about?

The first Shavathon was held in the Eastern Cape in 2003 as a way to show solidarity or support for cancer patients as losing hair is a common side effect of cancer therapy. Since then the event has gone national. Participants show support by donating a fee to shave or colour-spray hair, with some using fun stencil designs of a cancer ribbon, paw prints, footprints, handprints, a teddy bear and a funky animal print design. The donation is used by CANSA to provide a service to the public and all people affected by cancer.

3. What can you expect in 2018?

One full week for corporates and workplaces

It’s a week of spraying and shaving – a full week for corporates and workplaces to host Shavathon events from 26th February – 2nd March 2018. Register here to order stock.

Shavathons at Shopping Centres

The public can participate on Saturday 24th February 2018, at their nearest shopping centre and in some regions where there is a large demand, Sunday 25th February as well).

SANBS at Shavathon

This year, the South African National Blood Service is joining forces at selected Shavathon venues. The SANBS will be set up, allowing the public to make a blood donation.

Blood donations are often used for cancer patients undergoing treatment; therefore it is important for people to make regular blood donations.

See which venues will be hosting a SANBS donation station…

Become an Online Champion for Shavathon 2018 and win prizes!

Create your own online fundraising page – set up your online fundraising profile; write a short overview of what your aim is and why people should sponsor your project. Invite all your friends, colleagues, employees and family to your fundraising page and ask them to give donations. Keep your fundraising project alive by sharing updates, photos and videos, regularly, tracking your progress.

There are various prizes available and will be given to the online Champions who raise the most.

4. How do the workplace Shavathons work?

Many workplaces, organisations and educational institutions decide to host their own Shavathons in order to raise awareness and funds for the cancer cause. Hosting a Shavathon is often a wonderful team-building experience and many companies adopt CANSA Shavathon as their Corporate Social Investment (CSI) project. This takes place the week (26th Feb – 2nd March 2018) after the shopping centre events (24th Feb 2018). Employees take part and often they invite service providers, clients and friends to also participate. The designated staff member pays the commitment fee online, orders the materials from CANSA online, hosts the event and afterwards transfers the funds to CANSA. Many companies match the funds contributed by employees to make this event an even bigger success. See 2017 Gallery…

5. How does the event work at Shopping Centres?

Members of the public arrive at their nearest shopping centre to shave or spray for a donation of R50. Children under 12 donate only R25. They first register and sign an indemnity form and then pay the amount before proceeding to get shaved or sprayed. The process can take between 15 and 60 minutes depending on how busy the event is. The event is normally open from 9:00 to 15:00 but may extend to 16:00 so try to get there early to avoid disappointment. (Some regions may also host a Shavathon on Sunday 25th Feb – view venues here). See 2017 Gallery…

6. Bail-out fee

If you cannot shave or spray at a workplace or shopping centre you can pay a bail-out fee. Go online and make a minimum donation of R50. You may also participate in regional Shavathons that some regions hold throughout the year. You would need to contact your nearest CANSA Care Centre to find out when their next event will be held.

7. Will the hair from shaved heads at Shavathon be used to make wigs?

Only long hair over 25cm is kept – the other hair is thrown away. Hair that is dyed or bleached can also be donated; however, hair clean and free of chemical treatments is preferred as this produces a higher quality of wig. Dreadlocks cannot be used. To donate hair – clean and dry hair, free of colour spray must be put into a ponytail and then cut with scissors, keeping the ponytail intact. Hair needs to be placed into a sealed plastic bag, with your name and contact details clearly visible, and put into an envelope to be posted to CANSA Head Office PO Box 2121 Bedfordview 2008 or 26 Concorde Rd West Bedfordview 2007 or can be delivered to your local CANSA Care Centre. We then use these ponytails to create wigs for cancer patients who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. Read more…

CANSA ponytail donation

8. Are the Wahl clippers and scissors sterilised after use?

The blades do not touch the skin; however, there are sterilisation materials at all venues.

9. Why does CANSA Shavathon not do clean-shaving?

We offer a number 1 comb as the shortest shave, in order to reduce the risk of nicks or cuts. CANSA advocates being SunSmart, so we don’t want you to go bald all the way and place yourself at risk from sun damage. We advise on always wearing a sun approved sun screen or wearing a wide brimmed hat to protect you from the sun. There is a selection of number 2 – 4 combs for shaving or you can spray or stencil your hair a multitude of colours if you are not willing or unable to shave your head with a number 1 comb.

10. Are the colour sprays used safe / non-hazardous / will not stain?

The sprays are made from vegetable dye and won’t stain and can be washed out. However, use the cape/towelling to protect clothing e.g. white t-shirts.

11. Where does the money go to?

Funds raised goes to providing the unique integrated service to the public and all people affected by cancer. As a leading role-player in cancer research (more than R12 million in total spent annually), the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprises health and education campaigns, CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer, offer stoma and other clinical support and organisational management, medical equipment hire as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 11 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients plus one hospitium based in Polokwane, as well as CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment. Read more…

12. R50 is too expensive. Why not make it cheaper for families?

The price has remained R50 for the last 14 CANSA Shavathon events in a row and is considered a donation. Children under 12 donate only R25.

13. Who are the partners for CANSA Shavathon 2017?

Dedicated suppliers are all participating national shopping centres, Wahl Clipper, Globeflight, Newsclip Media Monitoring and Limegreen Online Design Print. There are a number of other media partners that assist with free coverage or exposure on a regional basis – these are listed on the website home page…

14. What colours are you offering for the colour spray?

Colours this year are pink, purple, blue, green, silver, yellow, red, orange, black and white, so you can choose one or a combination of colours. Some people even shave and then spray to double their support!

15. Which social media platforms is Shavathon part of?

Shavathon is making use of most social networking sites, click the ‘like’ button on our Facebook page post your photo and share your Shavathon experience, or follow us on twitter @CANSA. Add your pics to Instagram and upload your Shavathon video clips to YouTube and use the hashtag #CANSAShavathon.

CANSA is committed to connecting people facing cancer with the information, day-to-day help as well as emotional support they need in the communities where they live. Our aim is to ensure that cancer Survivors and their loved ones don’t have to face cancer alone; we’re here to support them through every step of their cancer journey.

Your support helps us to continue the fight against cancer in South Africa and brings us closer to the challenge of a cancer-free society within our generation. Let this become our legacy to our children and generations to come.

Do you have a question?