One could easily paint a colorful picture when describing Phil Gunyon.
On an average day at Basin Electric’s Deer Creek Station in Brookings County, SD, the operator technician’s jubilant laugh could crack up nearly anyone within hearing distance.
But recently, Gunyon has been turning even more heads, thanks to his new hairdo.
As part of a plan for the time leading up to April 19 – the day Gunyon is scheduled to have his head shaved in honor of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation – he vowed to dye his hair pink if kind patrons were able to donate $500 toward the fight against childhood cancer. Not long after making his vow, Gunyon found himself perched in a salon chair, surrounded by a small audience of giggling bystanders.
“I’ve got a pretty good reputation as a jokester,” Gunyon says.
As of April 9, Gunyon had raised $710. “I’ve gotten a lot of funny looks and laughs,” he says. “I’ve had a blast with it.”
Gunyon sees his pink hair as the perfect icebreaker when it comes to spreading the word about St. Baldrick’s.
He describes one situation where, after crossing paths with a perplexed man in a gas station, the man donated $20 toward Gunyon’s fund, generosity he has seen more than once. Gunyon says his close friend, Kevin Crose, who also works at Deer Creek, chipped in $100 to put him at the $500 mark, and the beautician responsible for his colorful transformation donated the $20 tip he gave her toward the foundation.
Gunyon still likes to joke about regretting his decision. In reality, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“My family got a kick out of it,” he said. “They’re used to my goofiness, I guess.”
Gunyon’s family members are no strangers to cancer. His mother is a three-time cancer survivor, which is one of the reasons he would like to eventually grow out his hair to be donated. “She had great hair, and this last time it took all her hair,” he says.
He also mentions other people he has known who were affected by cancer, and they have been on his mind during his fundraising efforts.
Gunyon maintains he wants to continue to raise as much money as he can before his April 19 deadline, and has decided to up the wager by promising to dye his beard purple if he can reach $1,000. In the meantime, he remains optimistic for children stricken with cancer.
“Hopefully they can get a cure for it and make it all better,” he says.
Watch the video of Phil’s hair transformation.
YOU CAN HELP
To donate on Gunyon’s head, visit his page: Phil Gunyon
For those who are interested, Gunyon will also post special messages to the site in honor of those who have been affected by cancer. He can be reached directly by e-mail at email@example.com.