I only write columns for the paper when I really have something to say; and while I have no bylines in this week’s paper (because I was on vacation last week) the one thing I wanted to write for this issue was that I am shaving my head (and possibly my beard and mustache) for the March 16 St. Baldrick’s fundraising event in Cazenovia, and I hope as many people as possible will participate or contribute.
I have two reasons for participating: I did this two years ago in Skaneateles and it was an amazing experience, but, more than that, my mother is currently fighting cancer and I want to do whatever I can to support the battle against this terrible disease. (And maybe, after March 16, she will let me take a picture of the two of us with our bald heads together, and we will look at it after she beats this again and laugh.)
When I participated in the Skaneateles St. Baldrick’s event in 2012, I did so because I thought it would be fun, it would be a good way to help and perhaps having the local newspaper editor participate would help get the word out. Well, it was fun and I did help, but the experience was so much more than that. The Skaneateles organizers hoped to raise $3,000 and get a few dozen people to come out. Instead, they had more than 100 people show up and they raised more than $25,000. There were kids and adults, young and old, men and women, those fighting cancer or with family fighting cancer and those who just wanted to help.
The event began with pediatric cancer patients or their parents giving remarks, offering testimonials and giving thanks for all the support. The place was filled with smiles, with tears, with hugs and joy and sadness — and hope. I work with words every day and I honestly cannot describe the feeling I got from being there, from listening and seeing all the people around me fight and hope together, and from being a participant. It was truly inspiring.