Locals Raise Funds and Shave Their Heads in Solidarity With Cancer Patients

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Photo courtesy of Miller Children's & Women's Hospital. Tempe Chen, M.D. infectious disease, Bickerstaff Pediatric Family Center, Miller Children’s and her three-year-old son rub their hands along each other’s newly shaved heads at the St. Baldrick’s Foundation event.

More than 50 local doctors, patients’ families and friends—including many from Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital in Long Beach—came together to “brave the shave,” raising more than $60,000 for life-saving cancer research at the annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event held at Hennessey's Tavern in Seal Beach on Saturday, April 1.

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Participants of every age and gender gathered sponsorships in exchange for shaving their heads, a sign of solidarity with pediatric cancer patients who often lose their hair as a result from treatment.

Tempe Chen, a pediatric infectious disease specialist for Bicker Pediatric Family Center and Miller Children’s Hospital, was the top fundraiser of the event, raising almost $12,000. Tempe is a five-year cancer survivor. This is her second year participating in the head-shaving event.

“Every three minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer,” Chen said in a statement. “Today, we are here to change that and fight for all families and children who are affected by childhood cancer. It’s crucial that we raise awareness and funds for this important cause.”

Attendees cheered on participants as they had their heads shaved. Each “shavee” had a personal motivation for taking part.

Matthew Williams shaved his head for his daughter Lily Williams, who was diagnosed in January 2013 with acute myeloid leukemia and was treated at the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Care Center (JJCCC). Lily passed away the following October. In her memory, members of Lily’s care team took turns in shaving Matthew’s head.

“This moment means so much to everyone,” Matthew said in a statement. “While this was a circumstance I never wished happened, I am thankful that Lily had the best care at JJCCC. Her care team will forever be in my heart. Lily and her care team are why I continue to fight to find a cure to pediatric cancer.”



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