Feb 24, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
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.
And now, two years later, here in Cazenovia I find myself inspired anew. The Caz event, which I reported on last week, already has more than 55 people signed up and, as of press time this week, has raised more than $8,500. Those numbers alone are impressive to me, and I’m sure they will continue to grow.
I spoke with the father of Nathaniel Henry, the 6-year-old Burton Street student who will be the Cazenovia event’s “honored kid,” and hearing him explain his son’s battle and how, today, you would not even know Nathaniel is fighting against cancer, was very moving. And I spoke with Cazenovia High School senior Amara Kattrein, who is going to chop off 23 inches of her blond hair and has raised more than $1,500, and I was inspired again. It’s difficult to go bald at all, but moreso for women, and especially for teenagers. To know that Amara is going all out to go from nearly waist-length hair to bald is amazing.
Amara, in fact, has inspired me in another way. Those of you who know me or have seen me know I keep my hair pretty short, and while I am currently growing it out, going bald for me is not a real hardship. However, I have not shaved my beard and mustache off in 10 years … I really don’t like how I look without them, and, 10 years ago, my nearly-1-year-old daughter got very upset that daddy looked so different.
So now, my daughter is older and I am thinking that if Amara can take such a drastic change and cut off her long golden locks, maybe I can shave off my beard and mustache. But I think I need to reach my fundraising goal in order to do it.
So yes, dear readers, I am shilling for donations to my St. Baldrick’s profile and if I can make it to my $450 goal I will go clean-faced. For those of you who like me and want to help, I would very much appreciate your donations; for those of you who really don’t like me here’s your chance to make me uncomfortably self-conscious for a while if I have to wait for my facial hair to grow back (which it does at an agonizingly slow rate).
But you know, whether I reach my fundraising goal or not, I am proud that I am participating in the Cazenovia St. Baldrick’s event; I am doing this to help Nathaniel and all the other kids who should not have to fight such a horrible disease, and, most importantly, I am doing this for my mother, who should not have to be going through her treatments for a second time. Mom likes my hair much longer than I keep it and my face clean-shaven — right now she’s got one, maybe in a few weeks she’ll have the other. Either way, we’ll be cue balls together in March.
To donate or sign up for the St. Baldrick’s event in Cazenovia, visit stbaldricks.org and search for “Cazenovia.”
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.