Westerville News & Public Opinion

Bald will be beautiful for Reynoldsburg group

Group was inspired by a 2-year-old from Westerville

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A number of Reynoldsburg HS2 Academy teachers and students may be reaching for hats for awhile before they leave the house.

They will get their heads shaved -- in public -- as part of a fundraising effort called "Be the Answer for Kids with Cancer."

The St. Baldrick's Foundation will host the head-shaving event at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15, at Fado Irish Pub, 4022 Townsfair Way, in Easton Town Center.

Teacher Christina Grady-Watts said several students in her advocacy class made a commitment last November that they would shave their heads if the community would help them raise $6,000 to help combat childhood cancer.

She said the students and teachers were willing to lose their locks in honor of a local toddler, Violet Murphy, 2, from Westerville, who went through aggressive chemotherapy last year and is currently in remission.

"I have to say that these students amaze me with their empathy and eagerness to help those in need," Grady-Watts said.

Not only have the students and teachers raised $6,800 since November, they recently brought in another $3,132 from a Raiders on the Runway fashion show held Feb. 26.

Half of money raised will go to St. Baldrick's for childhood cancer research and half to Nellie's Catwalk for Kids, a nonprofit organization started by Reynoldsburg High School graduate Janelle Krumlauf. The organization provides financial and emotional assistance to families affected by childhood cancer.

Teachers getting their heads shaved are Grady-Watts, Jennifer Druggan and Anthony Smith.

Students ready to lose their locks are Cody Barnett, Matt Collier-Wooten, Brittany Franclemont, Jakayla Howell, Tyler Knapp, Malick Njie, Akpiroro Oshobe, Hunter Perry and Frank Polanco.

Other donations to "Be the Answer for Kids with Cancer" can be made online at stbaldricks.org/donate/. Put Team Raiders in the search box.

Grady-Watts said student in her health and human advocacy class came up with the idea for the fundraiser. She said the class deals with world problems.

The idea of losing her own hair makes her a little anxious, she acknowledged, considering she doesn't even like her hair cut to her shoulders.

"But as an advocacy teacher, I want to lead by example," she said.

According to the St. Baldrick's Foundation website, stbaldricks.org, all types of childhood cancer "receive only 4 percent of federal funding for cancer research."

To fill that gap, the foundation urges school groups and organizations to raise money for childhood cancer research and to challenge others to participate in head-shaving events, to show solidarity for children who lose their hair during cancer treatment.

St. Baldrick's awarded nearly $25 million in grants to fund childhood research and help families with cancer in 2013.

From 2005 to 2013, the foundation awarded $125,251,567, thanks to fundraising and head-shaving events all over the country, the website said.

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