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St. Baldrick's generated 'buzz' for cancer research

Locals shave heads to raise funds
By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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In a matter of seconds, Amanda Hoops’ shoulder length, curly red hair was shortened to a few centimeters of peach fuzz. On Saturday, Hoops sat onstage at the central court in the Galleria Mall and became the first woman to have her head shaved in front of hundreds of people for this year’s St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser. “Oh,” Hoops gasped at seeing her new ‘do for the first time. “No that’s good, I don’t look like my brother so that’s a good thing.” In her hand she clutched a Ziploc bag containing four long, curly ponytails that would be donated to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program that makes wigs for women battling cancer. “I wanted to do this to raise awareness about childhood cancer and show my support,” said Hoops, 20, who pledged to raise $1,000. “When I found out I could donate my hair at the same time and help women with cancer, there was really no reason not to do it.” Now in its eighth year in Roseville, the St.Baldrick’s celebration was hosted by the Keaton Raphael Memorial to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer research. “This is the single largest fundraiser for childhood cancer and the great thing about it is that a pretty big portion of the funds stays in our region for research,” said Robyn Raphael, founder of the Keaton Raphael Memorial. According to the St. Baldrick’s Web site, last year’s event brought in more than $145,000, 40 percent of which was donated to the UC Davis Children’s Hospital for cancer research. This year, the Keaton Raphael Memorial set a goal to raise $150,000 with help from the nearly 400 people who pledged to shave their heads. Among those going bald were Roseville City Planner Mike Isom, City Council candidate Tim Herman, Roseville Chamber President Aldo Pineschi and Placer County Supervisor Rocky Rockholm. Several local organizations and businesses including Roseville Boy Scout Troop No. 11 and the Roseville Police and Fire departments formed or joined teams to drive larger donations. Scott Marer and his 13-year-old son Kevin were already enlisted as part of Boy Scout Troop No. 11 and the Westfield Pot O’ Chrome team to help sweep hair from the stage. But at the last minute they volunteered additional pledge money and their own heads of hair for the cause. The most emotional part of the event came when the 12-member team of the Sandvos family took to the stage and shaved their heads for their nephew, grandson and cousin, Nolan who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Amy Sandvos, mother of 1-year-old Nolan, watched from the audience with tears in her eyes as her family, including Nolan’s 10-year-old cousin Rebekah, shaved their head for her son. “It’s seeing the whole family together and supporting us,” Sandvos said. “Knowing that we have this great support structure that will back us up and do anything for us. That’s incredibly touching.” Still reeling from their daughter Savannah’s death a month ago, the Campbell family attended Saturday’s event to make good on a promise they made their daughter a year ago. “We’re here in memory and honor of Savannah and in support of the Keaton Raphael Memorial organization, who we are forever indebted to,” said mom Jodi Campbell. The family’s team, “Savannah Lives in this Heart of Mine,” wore T-shirts emblazoned with a photo of the family swimming with dolphins at Marine World, one of the activities on Savannah’s “bucket list.” “She taught us so much about life being gracious, courageous, finding the positive in everything,” said Stan Campbell. “But the most important, how short life is and to make sure those around you know how much you love them, that’s why we’re here.” Megan Wood can be reached at meganw@goldcountrymedia.com