Shaving Her Head for Childhood Cancer

Posted on January 25, 2015

0


One of my friends is shaving her head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.  I am so proud of her and wanted to share this story.  We often get so caught up in our own lives that we forget about others in need.  Others like children battling cancer and their families.  Precious lives.  So read on and get inspired to help others.  It will change your life.

Let me introduce Christine…christine hair

1. Introduce yourself and tell us what you are going to be doing on February 28?

Hi! My name is Christine Arnett. I’m a 38-year old, mother of two. I have a 10-year old daughter and a 6-year old son. I’ve been married to a wonderful man for 15 years and I’ve been a preschool teacher for the past 12 years.  On February 28, I will be having my head shaved for a St. Baldrick’s event.

2. Why are you shaving your head on February 28?

I’m shaving my head to raise funds for children’s cancer research and raise awareness of childhood cancer. More children are lost to cancer in the U.S. than any other disease- more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies, and diabetes combined. And yet, all types of childhood cancers combined receive only 4% of the U.S. federal funding for cancer research (according to St. Baldrick’s).

3. Tell us about St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation does one thing: fund children’s cancer research. This research not only searches for cures, but focuses on preventing the lifelong damage that results from surgeries, radiation and chemotherapies, and on improving supportive care for patients during treatment.  St. Baldrick’s started in 1999 when two colleagues challenged an individual to shave his head to raise money for childhood cancer research. Here’s a quick timeline from there:

2000 – The 1st event was held on St. Patrick’s Day with the goal of shaving 17 heads and raising $17,000.  Instead, they shaved 19 heads and raised $104,000 to donate to Children’s Oncology Group.

2002- With 37 head-shaving events in the spring, shaving heads had then raised more that $1 million.

2004- St. Baldrick’s Foundation was created to maximize the volunteer-driven effort.

2007- $12.9 million raised by over 18,000 shavees at 402 events.

2012- More than $30 million raised by head-shaving events and fund-raising.

4. How did you hear about St. Baldrick’s?

I don’t remember when I first heard about St. Baldrick’s. I’ve known about the head-shaving events for years, but this is the first time I have learned more about the actual Foundation and their work.

5. What made you decide to shave your head? Was there a particular moment when you knew you had to do this? And why? I have had a couple people ask me this and to be honest it isn’t a simple straight forward answer. One day back in September, I was standing in my kitchen feeling helpless due to the fact that my family’s money difficulties were preventing us from giving financially to charitable causes when I looked over and read this proverb I have posted on our fridge:

“If you have much,

Give of your wealth.

If you have little,

Give of your heart.”

As I was mulling it over, it just came to me or “Give of your hair.” I texted my husband right then and told him I was doing St. Baldrick’s this year. It wasn’t until then that I started to look more into the actual foundation and realized how important the cause was.

I learned that every 3 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer worldwide.

I learned that childhood cancers are not related to lifestyle factors, and little can be done to prevent them.  

I learned that some cancers almost never strike after the age of 5 and others occur most often in teenagers.  

I learned that even when kids get cancers that adults get- like lymphoma- they must be treated differently.

I learned that there are over a dozen types of childhood cancers and countless subtypes.

Every year, St. Baldrick’s choses five children (“Ambassadors”) to represent the thousands of kids touched by childhood cancer. Once I saw those children and read their stories, my decision was final. And then one of the children, 12-year old Caroline, died a couple weeks ago on January 9.  She reminded me of my daughter and her smile and courage were contagious.  She has been my driving force to raise as much as possible.

Caroline Richards

caroline

April 13, 2002-January 9, 2015

6. Have you had any hesitation to this commitment? Are you nervous about shaving your head?

No, not about the head-shaving part. At times I’ve been hesitant about having to put myself out there to talk to others and having to be on stage when I have my head shaved at the actual event. I have heard from people who have attended before that it’s a “big deal” when a woman does it and people will be watching. Until that point I was more excited about the opportunities than nervous. Being on that stage actually scares me more than shaving my head. Haha…

7. Do many women participate?

I’m not sure how many participate here in Louisville, but I saw on their website that in 2013, nearly 9,000 women had their heads shaved at events.

8. What type of statement does shaving your head make?

It says that hair grows back- children don’t.  It says that finding cures and helping children with cancer is more important than temporary baldness and a few months of temporary fuzzy hair.

9. What does shaving your head represent?

It represents my solidarity with these incredibly brave children. If Caroline can rock her bald head with confidence and a smile all while battling for her life, then I can do my part to raise awareness and funds on her behalf.

10. What will you tell people when they ask why you shaved your head?

I will tell them I did it to raise funds for children’s cancer research and then spread the word about children’s cancer and St. Baldrick’s mission. Being able to continue to spread the word afterwards is a nice bonus.

11. What do your husband and kids think?

My husband is incredibly supportive! He’s all for it. My daughter is really nervous about it; she says she’ll miss my hair.  My son says he’s a little bit worried, but otherwise okay:)

12. What do you think kids at your preschool will say? What will you tell them?

We’ve turned this into an opportunity to spread the word to the kids at school about providing service to others. We have talked to them about why I’m doing it (in preschool friendly wording) and encouraged them to maybe think of ways that they could donate if they wanted (small chores around the house to earn a couple dollars, etc). Since the kids in my class are 3 and 4, they also need visuals to truly understand, so we showed them a picture of a woman having her head shaved at an event, so they could see what I might look like. I don’t want to scare them when I come back the next Monday:)

13. How long is your hair now?

The longest part of my hair (forehead to tip) is 13 inches. The underside is a bit shorter at 9 inches. I’m hoping to donate as much as possible to Locks of Love afterwards.

christine hair 2

14. How can people contribute to this cause?

The easiest and fastest way to contribute is to donate online. My St. Baldrick’s webpage is

https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/Christine2bBald.

For those who don’t like using credit cards online, you can also call 1-888-899-BALD or write a check to “St. Baldrick’s Foundation.” (The donation forms are also on my webpage.)

If you want to “Brave the Shave” and be a shavee, you can go to the website

http://www.stbaldricks.org to find out more information.

Thank you so much Christine.  February 28 is the big day!  I will be there to support Christine and share the special event with you.  So stay tuned….And help others in need.  It will make you feel great!

 

.

 

 

Advertisements