A Buzz To Beat Cancer In Orono

Caitlin Burchill

Updated 2 years ago

The weather was perfect in Orono on Wednesday as UMaine celebrated its 78th annual Maine Day.A tradition since 1935, students, faculty, and staff spent the day doing community service and enjoying outdoor activities.Of all the events taking place, there was one fundraiser that was a cut above the rest. Students and Orono community members were shaving their heads to raise money for pediatric cancer. “Currently we’re at a little under $12,000 today and we have about 70 signed up to shave their head,” said event organizer India Stewart. “It’s just freeing and it’s amazing to know that the money that you’ve raised is going to an organization where almost every thing you raise does go to the cancer research,” said Marsha Garland, who shaved her head for the cause. This is the third year the Circle K, a Kiwanis affiliated service group on campus, held the fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s foundation.”It’s my first year. It’s something that is really scary to me, but you know when kids go through cancer treatment and stuff like that, its also really scary,” said Rozalyn Petersen, an intensive care nurse. “I met this young man around maybe last December and I thought it would be a good idea to raise money for this good man, Thiago here,” said Travis Blackmer, a graduate student at UMaine. While his hair has grown out, 5-and-a-half-year-old Thiago hasn’t had it easy. He’s been battling brain cancer since he was very young, and doctors just found another tumor.”We always assume that cancer patients look a certain way, but kids with these really significant health issues can look and be completely normal and healthy outside of what’s going on in their bodies,” said Thiago’s mother, Johanna Barrett.Sharing her son’s experience with the crowd made an impact on the shavers, but it also helped Thiago.”Being able to see that people willingly cut off all of their hair as opposed just losing it because they’ve been in so much pain which is what his association has been–seeing children with no hair–it’s been really good,” said Barrett. He really liked his newly buzzed bud. “Because he let me shave his hair,” said Thiago.


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