PORTAGE | Eight-year-old Emma Bailey, of South Haven, smiled the entire 15 minutes it took to have her head shaved clean, leaving her bald, beautiful and proud.
“I love it!” she exclaimed, beaming in her green and blue flowered dress.
Bailey not only had her head shaved to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research, but she also organized Saturday’s event at Clancy’s Irish Pub in Portage, where 16 people signed up to go under the clippers.
“We’ve had a great turnout and a lot of family and friends came out, along with a lot of the community,” said Emma’s mother, Jessica Bailey.
Emma, who hoped to raise about $3,000, said the idea came to her when she saw a segment on the morning news.
“I heard them talking about St. Baldrick’s and I told my mom I wanted to do it. She said that I should think about it. So I did and I still wanted to do it because I don’t want kids who have cancer feeling left out and I wanted to raise money for cancer research,” Emma said.
Emma’s grandfather, Jeff Bailey, of Porter, said he had decided the night before to participate, as he removed his cap to reveal his shaved head.
“I was one of the first ones! I’m very proud of Emma. She’s very community-minded and is sweet and reflective,” he said.
Students from Don Roberts Beauty School donated their time to shaving heads, including those of Emma and 9-year-old Bailey Fairbairn, of Valparaiso, her friend since before preschool.
The two girls sat side-by-side as the shavers skimmed their scalps, their long locks falling to the floor.
“They’re very brave,” said 13-year-old Alaska Austin, a family friend. “I could never do this!”
Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy and South Haven Fire Chief Bill Lundy also participated by going bald.
Jessica, Emma’s mother, said she is proud of her daughter’s dedication.
“She always thinks of other people before herself. That’s how she’s always been,” she said.