Thomasville woman shaves for the brave ... children with cancer
Bald has never been more beautiful.
Two weeks ago, Nicole Woodward shaved her head in honor of — and, sadly, in memory of — children whose lives have been touched by cancer.
“I did this for my heroes,” the 36-year-old Thomasville woman says. “I know way too many children who have been affected by cancer.”
Woodward actually traveled to San Antonio, Texas, for an annual head-shaving event called 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave, in which participants get their heads shaved to raise awareness of — and funds for — childhood cancer. More than 60 individuals got their heads shaved for the event, according to Woodward.
The sponsoring organization, 46 Mommas, gets its name from the fact that each weekday in the United States, 46 mothers are told their child has cancer. Thus, the organization represents all mothers who make the cancer journey with their child.
The group consists of mothers and honorary mothers — such as Woodward, who does not have any children — who shave their heads as a show of support for children affected by cancer, and for their families.
In Woodward’s case, as her head was being shaved by a volunteer from a local salon in San Antonio, she held up a sign with the names of local children she’s known whose lives were affected by cancer: Sarahi, Riley, Vinny, Ashton, Lilly, Zander, Garrett, Justin and Kaleb.
Woodward described the event as extremely emotional.
“I’ve shaved my head twice before to support children with cancer, but this event was on a whole different level,” she recalls.
“It’s very empowering to see all these people come together to raise money and awareness. Some of the children that we honored — and that I honored — are not here anymore.”
Woodward points out that she didn’t know most of the participants, other than having met them online, but they united for a common goal in San Antonio.
“We all have our own little lives, but we connected on Facebook, and we have one thing in common — childhood cancer,” she says. “We become like a family and we support each other.”
Proceeds from the event go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a national organization that funds research to help find cures for children with cancer.
Woodward says she’ll probably shave her head again in September at another event honoring a child with cancer, and then she’ll wait until the next national event during the summer of 2014.
“It brings awareness, and it’s for a good cause,” she says of shaving her head. “The treatments are so horrible for children, with harsh chemo and radiation. It’s worth it to do this for the children.”
Woodward’s interest in childhood cancer has even influenced her career goals. Though she’s currently a waitress, she plans to get a bachelor’s degree in speech therapy and then a master’s degree in pediatric occupational therapy, and then hopefully become a child life specialist at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem.
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For more information about 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave, visit www.46mommas.com.
For more information about St. Baldricks Foundation, visit www.stbaldricks.org.