Eureka resident Kate Daniels, an eighth grader at LaSalle Springs Middle School in Wildwood, plans to have her head shaved bald on March 9 to help find a cure for childhood cancer.
Inspired to ‘go bald’ as a result of watching her classmate and friend, Evan Pina White, battle leukemia, Daniels is raising money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a California-headquartered volunteer charity committed to funding the most promising research for childhood cancers.
“I know I can raise a lot of money to help kids like Evan. I hope to raise over $5,000," said Daniels, who has had long hair her entire life.
Daniels' 13 inches of brown hair also are long enough to be donated to Wigs for Kids to be used to make wigs for children battling hair loss as a result of chemotherapy or radiation.
To prepare for the change, Daniels said she is talking herself through it, thinking about various, cute short-hair options, and visualizing herself bald.
Daniels is being sponsored by Blu Salon in Fenton. Blu owner Charles Gillick committed to a full year of free haircuts or styles for her, after shaving her hair next month.
Daniels' other interests include skiing at Hidden Valley Ski Resort or teaching people with disabilities how to snow ski and water ski. She also is active in lacrosse, soccer, speed skating and church youth group.
Daniels plans to send fundraising e-mail blasts to fellow church congregants, friends and the toy industry—she was the 2010 Young Toy and Game Inventor of the Year at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair.
She also has been encouraged by LaSalle Springs Middle administrators to consider handing out fliers to classmates.
Her father has been shaving his head for years with the Mehlville Fire Protection Department’s team with St. Baldrick’s. "She thought it was really cool to see other girls and women up there shaving their heads and donating their hair," said her mother, Beth.
"Now she wants to see how much money she can raise."
Beth said other area St. Baldrick’s events exist, such as one at O’Dell’s Irish Pub and Ale House in Eureka. O'Dell's event is scheduled for April 6.
Friends and family members have reacted to Kate's news with quick "Oh no, your beautiful hair. Wow! I can’t believe it! You are so brave!" responses, said Beth.
Beth said people have been telling Kate over and over again how proud they are of her. "Friends at school are saying she is an inspiration," said Beth.
"And what has she been hearing from me, her mother, is...ARE YOU SURE?!?!?!?!"