Fourth-grader shaves her head to fight cancer
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent March 16, 2014 11:45PM
Ryan Bailey, left, takes a picture as daughter Emma, 9, gets her head shaved by stylist Angela Bradford March 9, 2014, at ClancyÕs Pub in Portage, during a fundraiser for St. BaldrickÕs Foundation.
For more on St. Baldrick’s Foundation, visit www.stbaldricks.org.
PORTAGE — Emma Bailey doesn’t have to decide how to wear her hair to school for now.
She has none.
On March 9, to cheers and whoops, Emma, 9, a fourth-grader at South Haven Elementary School, had her chin-length brown hair shaved off as part of a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit group that raises money to fight childhood cancer.
Emma was the first to get shaved during the event at Clancy’s Pub, which she organized with a goal of raising $5,000. She held a similar event last year and garnered $3,000.
She hasn’t really gotten a haircut since last year’s shearing, when her hair was shoulder-length, other than a trim here and there.
“It feels weird to do it, but it’s fun,” she said after stylist Angela Bradford, with Cesar’s Chop Shop in Hobart, finished the deed and someone in the crowd of onlookers called Emma “fuzz ball.”
Emma saw something on the news about St. Baldrick’s and talked it over with her mom, Jessica, and decided she wanted to do a fundraiser. She admitted she was nervous when she got her head shaved last year but couldn’t wait to do it again this year.
The South Haven girl also has donated a ponytail to Locks of Love, which turns donated hair into hairpieces for children with medical problems, so getting her head shaved wasn’t that much of a stretch.
“Emma has always had a soft spot for children who are sick,” Jessica said, adding a presentation when Emma was in kindergarten about cancer and leukemia spurred Emma to collect a box of change for cancer research later that day. “I think that’s where it started.”
At the urging of her dad, Ryan, Emily stood on a chair to address the crowd.
“Just by coming here, you are saving a child’s life,” she said, before thanking an assortment of people for their support. “I organized this event today because I want to make a difference by helping people.”
The event also featured food and T-shirt sales and a silent auction. As things got under way, 20 people had preregistered to have their heads shaved and several more decided to do it when they got there.
One of the walk-ins was Antonio Gutierrez of Portage, a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Action Network. The bearded Gutierrez said he’d not had his head shaved before, but wanted to help out another group fighting cancer.
“I’ll let them shave everything but my eyebrows,” he said.