Shave your head for kids with cancer. Be a shavee℠.
Photos courtesy of Matt Janson Photography. See more of his work at mattjanson.com.
Here at St. Baldrick’s, we have the privilege of seeing a lot of beautiful bald heads. Whether it’s a #baldselfie on Facebook or a collection of inspiring event photos, we know that each naked noggin represents something wonderful: more funds raised for lifesaving childhood cancer research.
At the same time, a head shaved for St. Baldrick’s is a bold symbol that our shavees stand behind kids with cancer, who so often lose their hair during cancer treatment. Shavees let these kids know that they are not alone, that they have a friend in the fight against childhood cancers.
Photographer Matt Janson captured the shavee spirit when he set up a portrait studio at the Grand Junction, Colorado, head-shaving event in June. His second year at the event, Matt said it was the shavees themselves that drew him to St. Baldrick’s for another year.
“I’ve never been a part of any group that’s been able to take something so painful and turn it into a day of love, support, and remembrance,” Matt said. “I can’t even begin to describe how infectiously positive everyone is at the event.”
Here’s a look at a few of Matt’s portraits along with a few words from the shavees about what it means to be a shavee and why they believe childhood cancer research is a cause worth losing hair over.
Jim Hamlin: “I shave in memory of my son Neal Carmine, a young adult just coming into his mid 20s, who was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in 2006 and died in 2007 after a year of the most advanced and aggressive treatments then available. Neal was determined to beat his illness but was unable to do so due to the lack of effective treatments available. Neal and too many other young adults and children have been hurt and too many lost to these cancers.”
Harriet Carmine: “I shaved so other families won’t lose their children as I had lost my son. It’s only hair … just go for it!”
Kaycee Macdonald: “I was thumbing through Facebook the day before the event, and as I began seeing all the faces and reading the stories of children in Grand Junction that were fighting for their lives, I knew that I had to participate. Participating in this event was by far the most humbling experience ever. I would tell others who are scared to participate to let go of that fear and embrace a feeling of helping a child in need. It is something that you will never forget and forever be thankful for doing!”
Jeff Stoddart: “I always get asked about my bald head for days after the event, and when I tell people why, they are amazed that others would do that. Some even donate after the fact and some make donations for the next year. Children should not have to go through such a tough experience at a young age. Go out, raise some money, and show these kids some support. It’s a blast, and your hair will grow back. Plus, it’s a great way to save money on shampoo.”
Shaun Oberding: “Along with Gunnar, the little homie that helped give me confidence to shave my entire head … we love stepping up and helping in any possible way we can. If I knew someone on the fence about shaving their head the first thing I would say to them is, ‘Come on! This isn’t about you, it’s about the kids. Let’s do what we can to help!'”
Robyn Carmine: “Shaving is the most liberating and wonderful feeling in the world. This was the fourth year that I shaved my head, and my third year as an event organizer. One of the reasons research is so important to me is that when my brother Neal was sick we got to the point that we were told that nothing is stopping the cancer and that nothing more could be done. No sibling should have to hear that about their brother. We need research to save these kids.”
Why did you shave your head with St. Baldrick’s? Tell us in the comments below! Want to shave your head for kids with cancer? Get started now.
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