Paul McKibben reports:
Twenty-one years ago, as a teenager, Chris Jennings battled cancer. On Sunday afternoon he participated in a fundraiser to give other young people the chance that they too might some day beat the disease.
Jennings was one of 56 people who had their heads shaved at Claddagh Irish Pub in the Deerfield Towne Center during a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a California-based charity that benefits research into childhood cancer. Sunday’s event raised $3,500.
Jennings, 38, who works at Claddagh, suffered from Hodgkin’s disease when he was 17. He was bald during his senior year at a Texas high school, where he was allowed to wear a baseball hat.
He’s been cancer-free for two decades. He said having cancer as a teen was “pretty traumatic. But you realize what’s important in life and who you value in your life…. You realize you’re not going to live forever.”
Participant Lorie Orth, 42, of Lebanon doesn’t have cancer but instead is fighting another disease that’s associated with losing hair – alopecia. The immune system of people who have alopecia areata attacks hair follicles and a person loses their hair. Orth was diagnosed four months ago, and then her hair started falling out in patches.
“So I started shaving it, and then an event like this comes up and I understand the complications that come around physically and mentally with losing your hair,” she said “And I know it’s hard for women in general to lose their hair, but for children especially, I’m sure they have a very hard time psychologically.”
Bill Wilder, 42, of West Chester Township had his head shaved Sunday at Claddagh. He has psoriasis and shaves his head about three times a year. He said head shaving is actually good for the skin condition from which he suffers. After getting his head shaved, he had orange and black stripes painted on part of his skull.
“If I can raise money … and I have to do it anyway, I might as well,” he said.
Roosters Men’s Grooming Center did the hair cutting during the event. Dub Nelson, who owns the company’s locations in Cincinnati and Dayton, said Roosters’ stores across the country have helped St. Baldrick’s.
Cormac Cushen, a manager with Claddagh, said pubs traditionally host fundraisers back in Ireland. He’s from Dublin, Ireland.
“So, why not have it in America too?”