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Newly bald happy to brave the cold to support cancer research

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Participants in the St. Baldrick’s event at the Medina County Career Center on Friday get ready to get their heads shaved in suppor of cancer research. CINDY BREDA / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — Katie Howard said she forgot how cold it can be without a hat.

The English teacher at Medina County Career Center just had her head shaved for the sixth annual St. Baldrick’s event at the career center to raise money for childhood cancer research.

“My longest friend actually had her baby diagnosed with cancer in utero,” she said. “The baby had surgery the week after she was born and she had to go, for over two years, to chemo. However, Caroline is surviving.”

Howard said she is very blessed and thankful that she has healthy kids.

“I can’t even imagine what parents go through so I figured it’s just hair,” she said.

Bill Hudnutt, president of the Gazette’s parent company, came out to support the event and get a haircut for a good cause.

“Being a new parent makes a person aware of things like this,” he said. “So when I saw that this event was going on, I knew I had to support it.”

Hudnutt said he was honored to be a part of the St. Baldrick’s event.

Participants needed a minimum of $50 in donations to get their head shaved. They also received a temporary shamrock tattoo on their polished dome, plus a commemorative T-shirt.

Becky Hambley, cosmetology instructor, has organized the event at the career center for all six years. She said prior to that she would shave heads at A.J. Rocco’s in Cleveland at their event. To this day, she remembers why she got involved.

“My daughter had this friend when they were in sixth grade,” she said. “Her friend was diagnosed with cancer and passed away.”

Hambley found out about the St. Baldrick’s event from the girl’s family. She said she has been participating in the event ever since and has been doing it for more than 10 years.

Hambley said the goal for this year was $20,000. As of Friday afternoon, $14,656 was collected.

She said they also pay it forward by donating the longer hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides wigs and hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from longterm medical hair loss.

“Despite the rumors on Facebook, they do not charge for wigs,” she said. “I call every year to make sure.”

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a nonprofit organization that funds childhood cancer research grants. The idea of head shaving came about when three businessmen were talking about how to give back to the community.

One of the men had a thick head of hair, which gave his colleague the idea to shave their heads for donations with the proceeds going to help kids with cancer.

The first St. Baldrick’s event occurred at a St. Patrick’s Day party in 2000 and raised more than $100,000. According to its website, more than $36 million was raised in 2017.

More information can be found at www.stbaldricks.org.

Contact reporter Cindy Breda at (330) 721-4012 or cbreda@medina-gazette.com.

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