Delaware News

No more bad hair days for St. Baldrick's supporters

Local 'shavees' will go bald in show of solidarity with Delaware boy -- and raise cash in the process

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A fundraiser for childhood cancer research in downtown Delaware promises to be a hair-razing experience.

Son of Thurman, 5 N. Sandusky St., will host Brave the Shave at 2 p.m. July 12 to benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that has raised more than $100 million for the study of pediatric cancer.

Event organizer and Dela-ware resident Joanie Daly and 26 other "shavees" are saying farewell to their follicles at the event, which is coming to the city for the first time.

Daly said she'd seen her husband's head shaved at prior St. Baldrick's events in Columbus, but she never thought she'd get in on the act.

"I always was like, never in a million years would I ever, ever do that," she said. "That was before childhood cancer touched my life."

Daly said she was inspired to lose her shoulder-length, strawberry-blonde locks by a kindergarten student at Grace Community School.

Jacob Barnett, 6, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2013. Daly, who knew Jacob from her daughter's play group, decided late last year that she would organize a St. Baldrick's event honoring the boy.

Daly said Jacob is "a really fun kid" who likes firefighters, superheros and laughing.

"It's great to hear a kid laugh (after he's) been through so much," she said.

John Barnett, Jacob's dad, said his son has kept a positive attitude through a painful and lengthy treatment process.

"He's tired, he's got a lot of pain in his legs, but he always has a smile on his face," he said.

Barnett said he and Jacob both had their heads shaved as soon as Jacob's hair started falling out in clumps due to his treatment. The hope was that Jacob wouldn't find losing his hair traumatic if he went for a shave with his dad.

"He giggled through the entire process," Barnett said.

One way to make sure Jacob would be smiling at the St. Baldrick's event was to invite some of his heroes, Daly said. After she dropped off multiple trays of cinnamon rolls at Delaware fire stations, a team of firefighters signed up for the event.

A team of Delaware police officers soon followed.

Barnett said Jacob and his family visited a Delaware fire station last week and received a tour of the building and its vehicles.

So far, the event's 11 teams have raised more than $10,000 for St. Baldrick's.

"It's been a really positive experience," Daly said. "I never thought it would get this big."

Barnett said he's not surprised about the way the event has grown, and he credits Daly.

"Joanie is a very active person," he said. "She's very good at planning and organizing."

Jacob's family, including twin brother Carter, will attend the Brave the Shave event as guests of honor. Barnett said a currently undetermined number of Barnett family members will have their heads shaved in support of Jacob and the event.

Daly said she's not feeling too apprehensive as July 12 approaches.

"I'm excited," she said. "Every time I blow-dry my hair, I'm like ... only so many more days to blow-dry my hair."

More than her hair, Daly said she'll miss running around town collecting donations and signing up teams.

"Life is going to be kind of dull afterward," she said.

Residents who are interested in getting involved in the event may visit stbaldricks.org/events/DelawareBraveTheShave.

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