First Day – 30 Days of Giving

11 Feb

Luke Pollok with his beloved dog, Snickers

Wednesday I said goodbye to the 6 Items project, and yesterday I started my new experiment, 30 Days of Giving. I was extremely happy and proud to make my first give to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation on behalf of Luke Pollok.

Luke was an incredibly brave, strong and inspirational boy who lost his life to a brain tumor (a type of cancer known as DIPG with no cure) in September 2009. He is the son of my friend since the age of 3, Janet Wallace Pollok. Janet has also been as inspirational as Luke was, in fact a warrior who has brought Luke’s fight to cancer and said, “You’re not going to take everything!”

Janet has now joined with 45 other mothers of children who are fighting, or have fought, some form of cancer. These 46 Mommas are shaving their heads BALD to raise awareness and funds to fight this disease. It’s a really amazing, cool thing to do, and it all raises money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation – an organization that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government.

The team originates from the reality that every weekday 46 children are diagnosed with some type of cancer and sadly, every weekday 7 children die from it. It is the #1 Killer amongst our children. Here is what Janet has to say about the Shave-a-Thon and her fight:

Until my son, Luke, was diagnosed with DIPG, I never, ever thought it could happen to MY child, our family! It was something I heard about and turned my head to, since I was sure it would never affect us! Shaving represents a very small part of what children go through as part of their chemo treatment.

We all want hair, don’t we? As a child going through cancer, they usually don’t have a choice but to lose theirs. It’s hard enough to be a child with all the normal peer pressures and wanting to fit in. To lose their hair and be stared at, pointed at and ridiculed only adds to the painful time they are going through. We moms want to show we understand and support them by going bald. I know if Luke were still here, he would totally dig this.

Janet & Luke at a benefit for him in April 2009

Luke was diagnosed in January 2009 and given 9-12 months to live; he suffered 9 agonizing, painful months before leaving his family. They chose to donate Luke’s tumor for research. As Janet says, it is only through research, which costs millions of dollars, that a cure will be found. Cancer chooses its victims, and it doesn’t care what walk of life you come from, rich or poor, race, religion or background.

The 46 Mommas Shave-A-Thon happens in Washington DC in September, but there are several other shave events going on around Austin next month. On March 12, Fado Irish Pub will be shaving in style, starting with a parade featuring Celtic music at 9 am and the shave at 10. On March 19, Dell Children’s Hospital is hosting a pretty big event, with games, booths and bouncy rides set up for kids at 10 am, and the shave starting at noon. And if you’re willing to shave your head for the cause, they’ll take new recruitees! There’s even an iPhone app which can let you see what you would look like bald. Check it out!

Thanks for your interest in this great cause. It’s totally worthy of my first day of giving. Now, what to do today to follow it up?

6 Responses to “First Day – 30 Days of Giving”

  1. Shelley Bueche February 11, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    wonderful Shelley, what an inspirational project!

    • Janet Pollok February 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

      I am in tears as I re-read your article…my son’s fight and ultimate death is taking on a LIFE of it’s own! It is amazing to me that one act of shaving my head to raise money for research, is spawning into big awareness for the disease and hopefully people will feel the need to donate! I cannot thank you enough for shedding light on this through your personal words and supporting me through his journey and now mine…your friendship has meant the world to me for 42 years now…wow, that is amazing in itself! I am honored you wanted to make your donation to this foundation your first “give”. You are truly an inspiration in all that you do to give back to the world and by sharing it with us all through your writings. Love you dear friend!

      • Shelley Seale February 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

        Love you too, Janet – I hope this spreads the word even more.


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