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Standing Baldly Against Childhood Cancer

Standing up to childhood cancer by raising money to shave my head for St. Baldrick's this March!

Let me get right to the point. I am shaving my head this March. It is not to rebel or give myself gratification, but to lead others into the awareness of childhood cancer. While children each day fight to survive, their families fight to maintain hope despite the ever-rising cost of treatment. St. Baldrick’s is an organization that helps provide financial relief to families as they face this challenging time in their lives.

Each year Quaker Steak and Lube has a fundraising event for St. Baldrick’s where servers feel moved to donate their tips, and volunteers come forward to shave their heads. Many volunteers, such as myself, register with St. Baldrick’s as a “shavee” and raise money independently for the organization. I work for Quaker Steak and Lube, and each year I have watched as these brave men and women came forward to donate the money they have raised. I usually gave my tips, but this year I feel I can do more.

I have told you what I am doing. Now, let me tell you a little about who I am and why I feel moved to join those who have given above and beyond. I am an Intervention Specialist/Early Childhood Education major at Malone University. I work with many students in different places in their lives. Some of these incredible students have mild disabilities, some more severe. I see the children’s families work so hard to provide all that they can, and some are never able to get ahead. I can only imagine the life a parent must live with a child who is stricken with a devastating illness.

As a mother, I have watched my toddler grow and develop. I have been blessed that my son, Aiden, has only suffered mild earaches and runny noses, but this was not always the case. While I was pregnant, we had a rough eight months. Between brutal morning sickness, stress tests, and an amniocentesis, my doctor prepared me for the worst possible outcome. Once Aiden was born, we realized that he was underdeveloped, but luckily, he has grown to be a young, carefree, adorable boy. He is my light, my love, and what I work hard for everyday. He may grow up and think that “mommy is silly” because she shaved her head, but I want him to grow up knowing that his mother stood up for what she believed in and set an example for him to follow.

A child with a severe illness is a tough reality, and I want to give my hair because children each day give their lives for a cure. Parents courageously sacrifice their money and all their hope for a cure. I want to help lessen their financial burden and raise money in support of the great work St. Baldrick’s is doing, so please join with me to help fight and end childhood cancer!

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Nina Baker February 07, 2013 at 04:58 PM
You're setting a great example for your son! Props to you Jessica!
Lori February 08, 2013 at 12:24 AM
Jessica is a former server of mine. What an amazing person INSIDE AND OUT !!
Morgan Day (Editor) February 08, 2013 at 04:45 PM
I loved this Facebook comment from Kellie McConnaha Johnson, who I talked to during last year's event: "Way to go Jessica! My daughter was a shavee last year. You are donating to a great cause. Your son will think you are silly for many reasons (it comes with being a mom) but not this one. He will be so proud of you. So stock up on hats (your head will be really cold) and 'Mane and Tail' shampoo (it makes your hair grow quickly) and good luck with the fund raising!"
Deborah Hannan February 11, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Proud of you, Jess!
Carrie Touchette February 23, 2013 at 12:59 PM
My daughter did this two years ago. I'm so proud and happy to see other beautiful women doing this, too. what a wonderful example you are for your son!! I will be donating on your page!
Jessica Meleg-Russ February 23, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Carrie, thank you for the kind words. If you would like to contact me at my email jameleg1@malone.edu I would gladly show you how to donate :) I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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