Yesterday, the Chattanooga Market hosted the fourth annual Jack’s Chattanoggins head shaving event.
According to NewsChannel 9, over $125,000 has been raised in support of pediatric cancer research since the event’s inception. This year’s event will add $38,000 in donations (and still counting) to that total, with 151 people shaving their heads this year.
The event, headed up by local teen Jack Skowronnek, invites participants to shave their heads to help benefit the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga. Skowronnek has gained attention for cancer research within and beyond the region—including from the author who inspired the movement.
Skowronnek was inspired to create the event after reading “Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie” when he was 10 years old.
“It’s about the social and financial struggles a family faced while having a family member with cancer,” he said. “At one point in time, the older brother … shaved his head in support of his younger brother. I decided to start raising money and shaving my head every year to show kids with cancer that it’s OK to be bald.”
This Sunday’s shave event was the 10-year anniversary date of publication for “Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie” and also the first time author Jordan Sonnenblick and Skowronnek met (and shaved) in person.
Sonnenblick gave a talk about his book at The Public Library Saturday.
“I used to be a teacher,” Sonnenblick said. “I wrote this book because I had a student whose younger brother was diagnosed with cancer, and her mom asked me if I could find a book to help her deal with what she was going through. At the time, I couldn’t find a book about childhood cancer, so I wrote one.”
Shavees of all ages raised donations and volunteered to lose their locks.
Janese Freye of Chattanooga shaved for the second year in a row and raised over $400 with the help of social media.
“It was so easy,” Freye said. “I just put a link on my Facebook, and my friends and family were able to put in their donations online.”
Jamie Smith, who participated for the first time, said: “I needed a haircut. It’s for a good cause, and it’s hot outside.”