Some people will go to extremes for a good cause.
At Provo Beach Resort on Saturday, March 16, more than forty people volunteered to shave their heads in the name of childhood cancer research.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation held a head-shaving event, Brave-The-Shave, March 16, to raise awareness of childhood cancer and raise donations to put toward research. The event highlighted two local boys both diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Andy Stanley, age 10, and Carson “Tuff Boy” Hancock, age 4, both had smiles ear-to-ear as dozens of people, dressed in green, gathered to support their cause.
The first volunteer to shave her head was Kat Solomon, the event organizer. Solomon sat cool and collected on a stage as dozens of people gathered to watch her curly red hair come off. For Solomon, the cause meant much more to her than her hair.
Solomon had her own cancer scare last October, and amongst her research she found the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and knew immediately that she wanted to get involved to take her mind off her own issues.
“This has given me something worthwhile, something other than myself to worry about. The last couple months have been all about Carson and Andy,” Solomon said.
She said their goal of raising $6,000 for the foundation has almost been met thanks to individual donations and local business involvement. The foundation has been very successful in funding research that has treated some childhood cancers that were originally thought to be untreatable.
For those who chose not to shave their head, donation jars were set up around the event, and everyone was invited to watch and feel the spirit of the moment. Solomon has a passion for the foundation because it is one of the few foundations that focuses specifically on childhood cancer research.
“They have been able to give kids a chance at life,” Solomon said. “This foundation shows people that there are kids in our area who are going through treatment and life is short and we need to just take it one day at a time.”
Stanley was one of the “Honor Kids” of the day, but it’s hard to see the trials he has experienced with the constant smile on his face. Stanley, who was diagnosed at age 7, has gone through two years of treatments successfully. He has grown his hair back since his chemotherapy but was so excited to shave it off in the spirit of the day.
“I’m very excited! I love getting my hair shaved. It makes me feel good, I think it will make a lot of people happy too,” Stanley said.
Stanley’s mom, Stacey Stanley, is a volunteer at The St. Baldrick’s Foundation and is very passionate about their work because her son has directly benefited from their research. Andy Stanley was the first child in Idaho to receive therapy intravenously rather than intramuscularly, which is significantly less painful, thanks to the foundation’s research. Stacey Stanley said most other cancer research money goes to adult forms of cancer and that childhood cancers are very underfunded.
“I am so grateful for this foundation because it is specifically for children’s research. If you’ve met any cancer kids they are tough, resilient and usually really smart kids and they are the kids that will make a difference as adults,” Stacey Stanley said.
Andy Stanley prefers that his mom does not shave her head for personal reasons. But his dad, two brothers, cousins and many friends showed their support for him.
Kyle Kartchner was another volunteer to shave his head and was instrumental in helping raise money. His company, Public Engines, chose from 30 non-profit organizations and felt St. Baldrick’s was the most needful of their donation. The company donated nearly $9,000 to help fund childhood cancer research, and Kartchner knew it was needed.
“There is such little money going toward children’s research, and it is one of the biggest reasons for childhood death. Just knowing we can help in that regard is motivating,” Kartchner said.
The event was a success, and the foundation plans to make it an annual event, hoping it grows every year.