When I was a young girl of 8 years, my thoughts this week were of spring break, sleeping in every day, playing Barbie dolls with my friends, and the Easter Bunny. While times have changed and girls that age don’t necessarily play with Barbie dolls anymore; I know one thing, the furthest thing on most 8-year-old girls' minds is shaving their head.
This Saturday, Emma Bailey, an 8-year old South Haven Elementary School student, will be shaving her head for St. Baldrick’s Foundation. She is hosting a Dance Party for St. Baldrick’s at Clancy’s Irish Pub, 2542 Portage Mall, from 3 to 6 pm.
Emma donated her beautiful hair last year for the “Locks of Love” program but as soon as she found out St. Baldrick’s; she was on board and let the shaving commence. She told her mom, Jessica Bailey, a Portage Township Schools board member that, “her hair would grow back but kids with cancer are losing their hair all over the world.”
For those of you who are unfamiliar with St. Baldrick’s Foundation, it is the largest volunteer-driven charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any other organization except the U.S. government. It gives hope to infants, children, teens and young adults fighting childhood cancers which can not be treated like little adults. More children are lost to cancer than any other disease. In fact, there are more than all diseases combined. A child is diagnosed with a form of cancer every 3 minutes in this world.
Little can be done to prevent these cancers because they are not related to lifestyle choices as are most adult cancers. Eighty percent of all cancers have spread before the initial diagnosis in kids. While many kids survive; the battle is not over. About two thirds of all children have long term effects including, loss of hearing and sight, heart disease, secondary cancers, learning disabilities and infertility.
While this all seems overwhelming; that’s where St. Baldrick’s Foundation comes in. They fund high impact clinical trials, researchers, training the next generation of researchers and supportive care research which gives the patient quality of life.
Emma’s St. Baldrick’s Dance party is family friendly and is a “head shaving event.” So if you or someone you know needs a haircut; for a $20 donation, an experienced stylist will shave your head. “Shavees” sign up and collect money much like a walk-a-thon to help raise funds for life-saving cancer research. Register on Emma’s St. Baldrick’s page, www.stbaldricks.org/events/emmabailey. If “shavee’s” collect more than $50, they will receive a free T-shirt. Emma also has a Facebook page.
If you don’t want to shave your head, no problem, come and enjoy the dance party with a rockin’ DJ and encourage those who do, including this courageous and loving young girl. There is a $2 cover at the door to join the festivities and t-shirts, baked goods and other items will be for sale as well.
Come on out an help Emma realize her goal of $3,000 raised toward childhood cancer research. Portage Township kids rock.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.