Bald is beautiful for St. Baldrick’s event

Photos by DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel—Greg Nehmer, left, of The Barber Shop in Clifton, clips the last of Wayne Dye’s beard during the St. Baldrick’s head-shaving fundraising event at Edgewater Brewery in Grand Junction on Saturday. Dye’s beard brought in another $200 for childhood cancer research. BELOW: Nehmer shaves the head of Margaret Lanam, of Montrose.

Each shaved head had a story to tell Saturday.

Such as Whitewater resident Becky Leisten, who participated in her first St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event on the lawn of Edgewater Brewery, 905 Struthers Ave.

Leisten lost a husband in 1997 to brain cancer and recalled trips she once took to a Houston hospital during his battle.

“We’d see all these bald little heads and the tattoos where they got radiation,” Leisten said, stroking her freshly hairless head. “My husband used to say he’d lay down his life right now if four or five of those kids would live to be 40.”

“So,” she said, gesturing upward, “this is for him and the little ones.”

While her husband was in surgery years ago, she recalled bumping into a high school friend whose son, 4, was also being treated at the same hospital. The boy eventually passed away, she said.

That encounter, and her late husband, weighed on her mind Saturday.

“I feel good,” she said. “I’m sure Mitch is smiling up there.”

The third-annual head-shaving event Saturday in Grand Junction was a benefit for childhood cancer research, capping what Mesa County commissioners had declared to be St. Baldrick’s week in Mesa County. Grand Junction city councilors named Saturday as St. Baldrick’s Day.

Tonja Reed of Hotchkiss made the trip and shaved her head, as did her daughter, Emma, 7. Just last week, the mother finished a round of chemotherapy and is waiting for the results of a checkup.

“It’s been a struggle,” she said. “But today we’re doing this for the babies.”


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