Head shaving event raising awareness for childhood cancer research

- A child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes worldwide. That is why there was a very special event Wednesday night to help raise money to fight childhood cancer.

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is trying to call attention to childhood cancer because they say it is drastically underfunded.

Some adults and children "braved the shave" as they called it to help raise money to fight the disease.

It is kind of scary to shave off all your hair, but when you hear why young M.J. Wallace went under the shave, you will understand why he did it.

“It was because of my Uncle Billy,” he said. “He was diagnosed with cancer about five or six months ago and also just because all the other kids with cancer.”

That is why the company NetApp teamed up with the St. Baldrick's Foundation for this head shaving event. They are hoping to raise $100,000 to help fund research for childhood cancers.

Some of the families at this event have lost very young children. One little girl was only 18 months old.

“Research is where we find cures,” said Adam Mellor of NetApp. “The unfortunate thing is the money is in adult cancer and not kids cancer. So the pharmaceutical companies will invest in adult cancer. We're trying to fill that gap to give kids a chance.”

Beau Swallow was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer at the age of 12. His story is remarkable.

“My type of cancer was Ewing’s Sarcoma,” he told us. “I had a five to seven percent chance of living. It was in my lungs and my back and it ate one of my ribs.”

He has been cancer free for five years. His struggle pulled the family together. His sister wrote a song and produced a video for Beau as he went through rounds of chemotherapy.

Beau's father remembers the treatment well. He was shocked to find out how difficult it was to find good care.

“When we started our Ewing’s Sarcoma battle, we were using protocols that were two to three decades old,” said Chan Swallow Sr. “When we got up to Sloan Kettering [Cancer Center] in New York, they said we haven't been doing this for 15 years.”

But with each shave and donation, they are raising awareness and hopefully creating lifesaving treatments.

What many don't realize is that childhood cancer is much different from adults who suffer from cancer. Children have to go through different treatments and finding success in those won't come without research.

For more information on how to organize your head shaving event, go to www.stbaldricks.org/organize-an-event

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