CHE goes bald in Bianca's memory

There are a lot more bald teachers at Chestnut Hill Elementary School.

It's not some sort of freak accident -- four CHE teachers and the district's science helping teacher had their heads shaved last Thursday in honor of St. Baldrick's Day, an event in which people shave their heads in solidarity with children battling cancer. The event seeks to raise awareness for children's cancers, as well as money to fund research for a cure.

This is the second year that CHE held a St. Baldrick's Day event, according to sixth grade teacher Larry Laszlo, who organized it.

"I was inspired to do it last year after the death of Father [Joseph] Champlin," Laszlo said. "But the idea really came from Todd Bourcy, our homebound teacher."

Bourcy works with children who can't attend school due to illness; often, these are children battling diseases like cancer. Bourcy had suggested the idea to Laszlo after working with Nate Perry Elementary sixth-grader Andrew Sleeth, who lost his battle with leukemia in 2007. Laszlo then implemented the idea at CHE.

"He really deserves the credit for the idea," Laszlo said. "I just brought it here."

While Bourcy, who now wears his head shaved all the time in honor of children with cancer, came up with the idea in memory of Andrew, this year's event at CHE memorialized Bianca Bresadola, a second-grader who passed away in December after a six-month fight with osteosarcoma.

"It's a little more somber this year," CHE Principal Martha O'Leary said of the event. "For the younger kids, it's just a whole lot of fun, but the older kids, as well as our second-graders and some of the first-graders, are a little quieter. They know what this is all about, and they really wanted to do something to remember Bianca."

The school will also be remembering Bianca with basketball game April 6. Funds raised at the game will pay for a tree near the school's entrance, where a plaque will be placed memorializing her.

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