Honoring a Son and Helping Cure Childhood Cancer

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
July 8, 2013

Three-time shavee Michael Rue sits in the barber’s chair for St. Baldrick’s. Michael passed away in 2012, but his family carries on his memory by donating to Michael’s favorite childhood cancer foundation.

“A single act does make a difference…it creates a ripple effect that can be felt many miles and people away.” – Lee J. Colan

When Michael Rue first shaved his head in 2009 to support a friend’s daughter battling leukemia, he had no idea of the ripple effect it would create for his family and friends. Michael passed away suddenly in November 2012, and the following March, his mom attended her first St. Baldrick’s event at Meehan’s Public House in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

Michael’s mom, Mary, reflects on the event.

This past weekend, I watched two men get their heads shaved in memory of their friend and my son, Michael. They looked supremely happy. I know without a doubt Michael was there in spirit sporting a big grin on his face, just as he did each time he was a shavee.

I regret never attending any of the events when Michael got his head shaved. He did it three times — in fact I kind of dreaded it. I didn’t think Mike looked good bald, and I told him so! But he would always assure me his hair would grow back again. He smiles back at me in pictures I have of him in the barber’s chair and he looks so happy.

When Michael died, we wanted to give family and friends an alternative to sending flowers in his memory. It was an easy choice to name St. Baldrick’s Foundation as a charity he supported. We were overwhelmed by the kindness of so many who made donations in tribute to Michael. I think our son would be very pleased we adopted his favorite charity as our own.

I wish I had supported St. Baldrick’s more when Michael was alive. Well, I do now — for Michael, but also for all  kids with cancer who benefit from lifesaving research because of St. Baldrick’s funding.

I’m proud to say my entire extended family supports St. Baldrick’s, too. This past Christmas, Michael’s cousins suggested, in lieu of exchanging gifts with one another, we all make donations to support St. Baldrick’s pediatric oncology research in memory of Michael. Done!

I feel safe in saying this is just the beginning of my involvement with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. I think Michael would approve…in fact, I know he would!

Michael’s legacy of caring about others through a simple act of sacrifice started a ripple effect that may reach farther and wider than he ever imagined.  Especially for his family, St. Baldrick’s has been a balm that helped the Rues turn their grieving into giving back and their pain into healing by supporting the cause their son did.

Honor a loved one with a donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Make a memorial or tribute donation today.



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