After his fourth shave for St. Baldrick’s, Aaron found out he had childhood cancer. The end of March marked one year of remission for Aaron. He shares his thoughts after his sixth St. Baldrick’s event. (Find an event near you!)
Aaron in 2012 before he was diagnosed with pediatric cancer.
At that time, I thought the idea of shaving my head would be cool and kind of fun. I was one of the only kids in my town to participate. After a few more years of being a shavee, I learned more about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the importance of raising money and shaving your head to support children’s cancer research.
I created my own team, the Bald Buddies, and encouraged some friends from school to raise money and shave their heads with me. As the years went on, my team, as well as the event, grew larger and larger.
Around Thanksgiving of 2012, I noticed a grape-sized bump on the side of my neck. My mom thought it was a swollen gland but since I didn’t have any other symptoms, we waited to see if it changed or went away.
Aaron shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s four years in a row before he was diagnosed with pediatric cancer.
Preliminary results showed that I had a type of pediatric cancer called Burkitt lymphoma. Of course the news was very shocking to me and my family — I was an active and seemingly healthy 15-year-old.
On December 26, 2012, I was admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The next day, the diagnosis was confirmed and I began a three-week stay of intense chemotherapy.
Aaron while he was in treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
I had been in treatment for about three months when our St. Baldrick’s event came around again, and I knew it would mean so much more that year than any other. I sent out my usual email asking for donations, and the response I received was crazy! I ended up raising $2,995 for childhood cancer research — nearly 10 times what I’d raised the year before — and the entire Lawrenceville event raised over $140,000.
The amount of support I got from everyone at the event was overwhelming. It was quite an experience to see how a community can have fun and rally around a cause to accomplish such great things.
St. Baldrick’s has become a very important part of my life, and my experience with childhood cancer has made me realize how vital it really is. Even though I volunteered instead of shaving at this year’s event, I can’t wait to shave my head next year and become a Knight of the Bald Table.
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