SCHERERVILLE | Three fifth-grade students arrived at Grimmer Middle School last week with bandanas wrapped around their beautiful bald heads.
Kennedi Canagey, 11, Annaliese Tancos, 12, and Dana Cloghessy, 11, all participated in the ninth annual St. Baldrick's Day benefit for a childhood cancer foundation April 7 at The Quest Restaurant in Schererville.
In eight years, The Quest raised more than $250,000 for cancer research, adding another $27,000 this year. The Grimmer trio raised more than $3,000 alone in pledges.
"The three girls continued to turn heads as they walked the Grimmer Middle School halls proudly," said their teacher, Christina Sideris. "Hopefully these courageous girls will influence others to care so deeply for a cause that could benefit so many other children."
The girls all downplayed their sacrifice in the face of what young cancer patients are experiencing.
“I know that little kids diagnosed with cancer do not have a choice on if they have hair, it was a good cause and I do not care what people think if I have hair or not," Tancos said. "I hope that with all of us trying, they will find a cure to help everyyone with cancer.”
Canagey said she didn't care that she looked different without hair. "I hope the money I raised will help to make a cure. I feel bad for those who have to struggle with this disease.”
Cloghessy admitted having a difficult time with her decision at first. "But then I realized that the other children struggle with it probably as much as I did. It hurts and people can be mean.
"I wanted to show the others that it is okay to be bald. Bald is beautiful. It doesn’t matter how you look on the outside; it’s your heart that counts. I would do this again and again if I knew I could help put a smile on another kid’s face.”
Fifth-grade teacher Sarah Hanson called the trio an inspiration to others. “I am so proud of these three girls and the selfless, inspirational decisions they have made. What positive role models for the school and community,” she said.