Clipped for a cause

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St. Baldrick's head shavings raise money for childhood cancer research

By Kelly Cantrall

People filled the Knights of Columbus Hall on Sunday to clip for a cure.


More than 50 people had their heads shaved for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation . It was the first event of its kind in the Elizabethtown area and had brought in tens of thousands of dollars before a set of clippers ever touched a head.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s mission is to raise money for childhood cancer research.

The Elizabethtown event was organized by Tessa Wilkinson, daughter of a pediatric oncology nurse at Kosair Children’s Hospital. Her father has participated in a Louisville event for several years. Wilkinson and her family wanted to bring the event to Hardin County.

Fifty-six “shavees” signed up for the event before it began, and several walk-ins registered Sunday. Along with pledges the shavees bring in, Wilkinson raised money from donations and fundraisers at restaurants. Organizers also sold tickets for an opportunity to win gift baskets and St. Patrick’s Day novelties. By early afternoon, Wilkinson estimated about $11,500  had been raised, but that didn’t account for everything, she said.

Heather Beard of Cecilia raised $260 to have her head shaved Sunday. She has been raising money for Addison Blair, an Elizabethtown girl with cancer, and had begun researching other ways she could help.
She brushed off any worries about having a buzzed haircut.

“My hair’s usually short anyway, so it wasn’t that big of a deal,” she said.

Two mothers of childhood cancer patients spoke at the event.

Carolyn Muir lost her son, Justin Jewell, in 2006, after he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of muscle and soft tissue in 2005. She has been involved with St. Baldrick’s since, and it has been a goal of hers to see it come to Elizabethtown.

“This is something that I have hoped for,” she said.

Muir said the events raise awareness of childhood cancer, a reality that no one really can understand until they meet a child with cancer. The events also are good for her, she said.

“I use these events as a healing process for me,” she said.

Chrystal Brigman spoke about her son, Samuel Adams, and his struggle with pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Samuel, 5, is on maintenance chemotherapy to keep him in remission.
Brigman said she likes St. Baldrick’s because of the large amount of donations that go to research.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s web site reports that all money raised, except the cost of staging events, goes to research.

“It’s a great way to bring awareness to the community, too,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.