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I have a healthy full head of hair, not luscious, sometimes dirty, but am lucky that a guy my age still has to get a haircut when his wife or mother tells him he has to.  So I'm shaving my head because cancer can strike where you least expect

Good friends of mine recently had thier wonderful daughter diagnosed with Leukemia and I felt helpless.  Now I know everyone says their kids are the cutest thing in the world – I don’t have any, so I can be objective (if you are honest with yourself behind closed doors, not all four year-olds are “cute”.)

However I can attest that this is a beautiful little blonde kid with huge dimples and an infectious smile, who just a few weeks before was sitting on my lap watching a cartoon double-feature at a drive-in on the tailgate of my car, was now ill. (Chris Hanson, if you're reading this, her parents were there too.)

Weeks before she was supposed to be the flower girl in my wedding this past December she was diagnosed, and the poor little gal despite all the chemo and treatments in a short amount of time, was such the trooper that she showed up (sans her beautiful blonde locks) by pre-ambling my bride down the aisle. There’s a word for what this brave child has and likely doesn’t realize: grace.

Now I don’t know her parents too well - they are friends of my wife’s who I met by association, but I wanted to do something. Anything!

But I know nothing about little girls and less about cancer. However I can spot a person and family in pain. It may not be all that “personal”, but it close to my home and this year I’m going bald for little April (aka “Dimples”) in March.

A good Cajun-Irish guy with a full head of hair, I volunteered to shave my head with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation this year.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research. At St. Baldrick’s events all throughout the year, brave volunteers shave their heads, raising funds for research. Like runners in a marathon, “shavees” collect donations from family, friends and associates.

The Foundation receives these funds and makes grants to research experts to find new and better treatments for fighting kids’ cancer. St. Baldrick’s organizes events where volunteers shave their heads to stand in solidarity with kids fighting cancer. It is an amazing experience. However, you don’t have to go bald like me to make a difference in the life of a child with cancer. Folks can donate money in honor of a St. Baldrick’s Honored Kids, volunteer your time, or plan an event. St. Baldrick’s is proof that one person, one shaved head or even one dollar can make a difference in the fight against childhood cancer.

Asking anyone to shave a dollar from his or her bills for my head is not the point - and I’m not asking. Just making you aware that this happening in Louisville, in your neighborhood and (insert deity here) possibly to your friends and family.

FACTS (because I had to look them up, please read): Each year 160,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer. About one in 300 boys and one in 333 girls will develop cancer before their 20th birthday. In the United States, childhood cancer kills more children than any other disease – more than AIDS, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital combined. In the U.S., 1-2 children will develop cancer for every 10,000 children, that makes for more than 15,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year. This is a diagnosis every 3 minutes. Every 4 hours a child with cancer loses their battle.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation provides grants to over 230 institutions for laboratory research and to help make clinical trials available to more children than ever, giving those children treatment that offers the best chance for a cure and long-term survival. St. Baldrick’s has also funded 36 Fellows and 21 Scholars, younger professionals who are the experts of tomorrow. Want to learn more, visit or come and see the local Louisvilleians supporting a great cause at www.stbaldricks.org.

  • 03/13/2011 4th Street Live! 03/04/2011 Brown School Louisville
  • 03/16/2011 Christian Academy of Louisville Rock Creek (Private Event)
  • 03/19/2011 St. Albert The Great 03/18/2011 St. Bernard
  • 03/20/2011St. Lawrence Catholic Church (Private Event)

AUTHORS NOTE: I’ll be shaving my head on 4th Street, so if you’re there come by and say “hi”, celebrate my baldness and sympathize with my wife.

(Photo: stbaldricks.org)


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Kit Helton's picture

About Kit Helton

Average single guy who has been able to lead an above average life. Originally from New Orleans and arrived in Louisville after 10 years via Chicago in 2005. Currently residing near Churchill Downs with my dog, Dixie. Owner of a catering company for over a decade and published cookbook author, I am lucky to return to the Food & Dining as well as Arts beats for Louisville.com.

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