About a month ago I got an email from the local Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They wanted me to be aware of a ceremony that was going to happen at 2:30 on Monday, March 2 at Heritage Trails Elementary School in Moore.
Those 880 students and their teachers had raised more than $40,000 since late December. Heritage Trails fifth Grader Camden Looper is battling Leukemia, and his classmates and teachers have been rallying around him. Back to that $40,000 donation: when the fundraising campaign began, Heritage Trails Principal Dr. Jason Perez told his school if they raised $25,000, he would shave his head.
Well, at Monday's ceremony, Dr. Perez held up his end of the deal. Several of his students also allowed volunteers from South Oklahoma City's ‘Diva Salon' and other salons to shave their heads too.
Sunday night, while I thought about doing this story Monday, I thought about my dad. His name was Dr. Robert C. Shaw. He was from very small town in southeast Missouri. His family scraped by on the family farm during the Great Depression. He served in Army Intelligence after World War II. He then used the G.I. Bill to get his education. Dr. Shaw rose to become Superintendent of the Columbia, Missouri Public Schools from 1963 to 1976, before he went on to be a Professor at the University of Missouri's College of Education, where he taught graduate students who were studying to become Superintendents.
Dr. Shaw, who's only vice in life was maybe ice cream, was forced to retire in 1999, after suffering a series of strokes.
In 2003, he was diagnosed with Lymphoma. It's cancer of the lymph nodes, and it can be unforgiving. However, with the help of my mother Mary Ann Shaw, my dad met the challenge head-on. My mom put him on a strict diet, and Dr. Shaw lived another seven years, until he died in his sleep on Good Friday in 2010.
So Sunday night, I said, “What the heck, I may as well get my head shaved with the Heritage Trails Principal and those kids on Monday.” I wore a flat top in college 30 years ago, so I know the drill. It was the least I could do.
Congratulations, Heritage Trails kids!
But as I already know, and Principal Perez is going to find out, it's darn cold outside when you have no hair!