Shaving heads for solidarity with young cancer patients
Apr. 27, 2013 @ 06:45 PM

Paige Daniels said she met Chandler Blackstone, a longtime employee at the Food Lion at Woodcroft Shopping Center, years ago at the grocery store checkout. She knew him when her children were small enough to fit in a shopping cart.

“He’s so friendly; I look forward to going to the grocery store to see Chandler,” she said. “He’s watched our family (grow up).”

On Saturday, Blackstone had his head shaved at a St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser in honor of his mother, who died of cancer, and also to honor Daniels’ daughter. The foundation is a childhood cancer charity.

Caroline Daniels died in July 2012 at the age of 16. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. In 2011, she was the honoree at the West 94th Street Pub’s first fundraiser to support pediatric cancer research, Paige Daniels said.

Hosted by the pub, which is also in the shopping center, the event was held to raise money for cancer research. About 100 volunteers were expected to have their heads shaved in support of children battling cancer.

“They raise a lot of money,” said Blackstone, who has attended the event in the past, but had not had his head shaved before. “The money helps out a lot.”

Kerry Bryant, the lead organizer for the event, said her family owns the West 94th St Pub. Her son was participating in St. Baldrick’s Foundation events through his school, Bethesda Christian Academy, and they decided to host their own. She also said she wanted to do something for the cause as a breast cancer survivor.

“This is just really dear to my heart,” she said.

In the first year of the event, Caroline’s brother, Dawson Daniels, who is now 13, had his head shaved by his sister. 

In the third year, on Saturday, 16-year-old Katie Williford, Caroline’s best friend, spoke about Caroline. She said they met through dance lessons, and Williford recalled a vacation the two spent together. She said she attended church services with her friend’s family and, through that connection, has made lasting friendships.

Daniels went onstage and gave Blackstone a hug before Katie performed the first ceremonial shave of his hair.

“We’re just so happy to be able to help other cancer patients, and raise money for cancer patients and research,” Daniels said. “(We) feel so honored that they would do this in her honor.”

Last year, the event raised about $91,000. This year, Bryant said, they raised more than $58,000. She said proceeds from the food sales at the event were slated to support the cause, and Bandido’s Mexican Café and Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in the center were also expected to donate a portion of their proceeds. They held a raffle and a silent auction.

Stylists from several salons volunteered to cut hair and shave heads. Durham resident David Bartlett, a.k.a. Mr. Rainbow the Clown, donated time to the event, and also had his head shaved.

Ten-year-old Lindsey Jouannet, a fourth grader at Bethesda Christian Academy, also volunteered to have her head shaved.

She was the sole female member of the Bethesda Baldies Team, which is a group of students from the school that participated in the event. 

“I  feel good because it’s going to help other people in need,” she said, adding that her thoughts on losing her long,  brown hair were that she wasn’t going to have to brush it anymore.

Her grandmother, Sheila Bischoff of Richmond, Va., said her husband died from cancer, and she lost a kidney to cancer.

“It’s awesome,” Bischoff said of her granddaughter’s participation on Saturday. “She’s just a really good kid.”

Another head-shaving event was held during Carolina Blue Six youth baseball games in Chapel Hill on Saturday. The Carolina Baseball Club partnered with the Vs. Cancer foundation to host the event to raise money for childhood cancer research, according to a news release.