LACKAWAXEN TWP. - In the name of a young man who enjoyed helping his community, an annual head shaving fundraiser has occurred for five years now. Bald for Jake was June 9 at the Forest Volunteer Fire Department where Jake Daniels was a junior firefighter.
At the start of the event this year, his mother Ruth gave a recap of the proceeds raised by those who braved the razor. In the last four years, 283 men and women shaved their heads in support of childhood cancer and raised $85,000 was raised. With the funds from this year, Daniels had hoped to meet the $100,000 mark, but the goal fell short $600.
The purpose of the event, Daniels told a room full of family and friends as well as strangers who traveled from afar to shave their heads, is to find a cure for childhood cancer, since the funds raised support research. Without funding, simply, “there’s no cure and without a cure, families and kids suffer.”
In addition to that reason, Daniels said the day was a time to remember her son Jake, who was always willing to help others as he was the “epitome of what it meant to be human.” The idea for Bald for Jake came after he passed, but because there was a time he was asked to be a shavee and without question, he did it because it was important. Helping others, that Daniels feels is the best way to remember her son because, “if somebody needs you, be there, just be human, be nice to your neighbor.” Along with showing children that not having hair is okay, Daniels said “you’re still beautiful.”
A first-time shavee, Rosemarie (Roe) Happaney said she felt good after her hair was shaved from her head, because she was helping others. A friend of Daniels who understands what its like to lose a child, Hapaney participated this year to further support her friend. Hearing the razor go over her head, that Happaney said was “scary” since she was used to having hair. But, she wants people to know that, “hair grows back” and so, losing it is “not a big deal.”
Also a first-time shavee and a friend of Daniels, Tamara Miller decided to participate because she was inspired by other women who have done it in years past, since its for a good cause and hair grows back. Shortly after her hair was shaved, Miller said having none felt neat. With the support of friends, she raised over $600 for St. Baldrick’s.
This year Amy Blair traveled three hours from Harris County, to become a shavee. Sporting bright blue hair when she arrived, once it was removed, Blair too said it was no big deal since “its just hair, it’ll grow back.” This was however, an opportunity to support the “cancer community” since she has been affected by the disease. As the razor went over her head, that she described as being a “little nerve-wracking.”
A shavee for five years now, Jake was Julie Brussell’s nephew. Having her head shaved each year, that Brussell called the “best thing ever” since it reminds her that there is more to life then hair and how one looks. Over the years, with the support of friends and colleagues, Brussell has raised $5,000. She said, if people are given the chance to support a cause, they will because they want to help.
In an email, the Director of Special Events for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Mariela Castillo praised the many people involved in Bald for Jake as they have accomplished a lot by coming together for the cause. On behalf of the foundation, Castillo thanked Daniels and her family for organizing the “amazing event in Jake’s memory.” The funds raised, will support research that will work to find cures and better treatments, “so that all kids with cancer can live long, healthy lives.”
While Bald for Jake has occurred once a year for the last five years, throughout each year the Daniels family continues to collect funds through events they host that include music shows, chef’s parties and more. Prior to the recent event, $9,000 had already been raised just this year alone. And now, donations are still being accepted online until the end of August. For more information, visit https://www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/11256/2018.