More than 50 people in Seal Beach shave their heads in solidarity with childhood cancer patients
Boasting a voluminous, salt-and-pepper beard with a matching full head of hair, father Mike Jones thought of his daughter as shears cut through his hair.
His daughter Abigail shaved his head every year at the St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving fundraiser in Seal Beach, since she was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. But two years later, she died from the disease at 9 years old.
But Jones continues the tradition by shaving his head each year, with another hairdresser, in memory of his daughter.
“It’s emotional,” Jones, 45, said.
Jones was among more than 50 people who shaved their heads at Hennessey’s Tavern in Seal Beach on Saturday, April 13, in solidarity with pediatric cancer patients who often lose their hair as a result of treatment. The annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event spreads awareness and raises funds for childhood cancer research.
Up to five people were shaved at once, including parents like Jones who shave in memory of their children who died of cancer.
The fundraiser supports cancer research at Miller Hospital’s Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute, which researches and performs clinical trials to identify the causes, treatments and cures of childhood cancer.
Many people represented the hospital, including doctors and parents of current or former childhood cancer patients.
One of Miller Hospital’s teams was represented by nurse Dana Harmatz and Dr. Tempe Chen, a cancer survivor now eight years in remission. The women, who work closely with childhood cancer patients, were sponsored by family and friends in exchange for a shaved head.
Chen, 43, said her patients and their families are usually impressed to see her shaved head.
“(I shave) to show others that are going through treatment that it’s OK,” she said. “You can be bald and be beautiful.”
Other participants included cancer survivor Kraige Bekke, 66, who is celebrating his fifth year of remission.
“Every year I’m here, I’m cancer free,” he said. “I want these kids to know that.”