Bald for a cause in Eagle Colorado
EAGLE, Colo. ” At the Greater Eagle fire station Saturday, there was no such thing as vanity.
Rather, there was charity, goodwill and a whole bunch of bald heads.
Saturday was the fourth year Eagle has participated in the national St. Baldrick’s head-shaving bonanza to raise money for research into possible cures for childhood cancer.
Just before the clippers hit skin, organizer Cindy Pettite had a brief message for the crowd that filled the firehouse.
“Cancer is not an acceptable intruder into our lives,” she said. “Let’s agree that we’ll keep going and going and going until we’ve shaved our way to a cure.”
Pettite doesn’t have trouble finding participants each year. The fire department not only hosts the event, but the members, from the bottom to the top, take a seat in the barber’s chair. But she also gets an overwhelming response from the community ” even those who have a lush, full head of hair like Nick Deering does.
“It’s a royal pain, too,” said Deering, 19, of his hair. “I usually shave it for the summer, so it might as well go for a good cause.”
Each shavee who pre-registers for the event is asked to raise money to go toward the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which supports fellowships and research into a cure for childhood cancer. Deering raised about $300. Eagle Fire Chief Jon Jon Asper raised about $750. Young Nathan Jaffrey, though, took the lead by raising $1,650.
Nathan, 71⁄2, is a cancer survivor himself and took Saturday as his volunteer opportunity to go bald. He did it last year also and even took it a step farther and charged people 10 cents to rub his head ” which he then donated to the foundation. He does it for the people his age who are struggling with cancer, he said.
“I’m just trying to raise as much as I can,” he said.
The Rooney family also joined in on getting a summer look Saturday for their third straight year. Natalie and Eamonn Rooney’s son, Finn, kept his Irish-red mop top because he’s been bald enough in his short life. The 6-year-old was diagnosed with cancer at 17 months and underwent nearly four years of chemotherapy. Eamonn Rooney, his father, and Finn’s brother, Declan, showed family unity and chopped off their locks instead.
“We had so many people do so many amazing things for us when Finn was sick,” Natalie Rooney said. “It’s a way for us to give back.”
Natalie Rooney said she’s amazed each year how many people show up who don’t have any connection to cancer. They just raise money, shave their heads and go home. She would be stunned to learn about 10-year-old Lane Dobransky, then.
He doesn’t have cancer. He doesn’t know anybody who has cancer. He rallied support and money like it was he himself who was diagnosed, raising $750 in just five days. He did it merely because he doesn’t want to see children his age go through any pain, he said.
“I started out working on teachers at school, then family, then I moved on to my friends,” he said. “I feel really good because I know I’m helping other kids.”
Lane said he’ll do it again next year and the year after that. But the hope and the goal is that there won’t have to be a St. Baldrick’s fundraiser next year or ever again.
“We’ve seen a lot of kids not make it. We were one of the fortunate ones,” Eamonn Rooney said. “Hopefully, one day everybody will be fortunate.”
Staff Writer Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.