Ella Kennedy, 11, sat in a chair at the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena on Saturday while a hairstylist snipped off chunks of the girl’s long brown hair.
Kennedy was about to have her head shaved in a show of support for children diagnosed with cancer. With a few loose locks held in hand, she smiled as the rest of her hair fell to the floor.
Afterward, Ella said she went through with it for Bailey Johnson, a childhood cancer survivor and longtime pal.
“He’s my friend,” the now nearly bald girl said, “and I wanted to support him.”
More than 135 people shaved their heads at the region’s third St. Baldrick’s fundraiser, hosted by the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation.
About $41,000 has been raised for the event so far, with all proceeds going to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The money is then used to fund children’s cancer research.
According to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, all types of childhood cancers combined receive only 4 percent of U.S. federal funding for cancer research.
On Saturday, many community members contributed to the cause, including firefighters, business officials and hockey teams alike.
Hockey coach Frank Gubello had his head shaved to support Bailey.
“It’s kind of the least we can do knowing all the stuff he goes through,” Gubello said.
Music blared through the foyer as hairstylists shaved participants’ heads five groups at a time.
Carson City resident Joey Heindl sat next to his uncle while the two went nearly bald.
“My uncle does it every year, and my younger brother is a cancer survivor,” Heindl said. “So it (participating) is to show support, and support other people.”
NNCCF officials Tuesday said there is still time to support the cause. Anyone willing to do so can go to www.stbaldricks.org/events/SouthLake Tahoe.