Most sixth-graders summer plans are focused around vacations and summer camps, but for 12-year-old Jack Skowronnek, that just is not enough.
Jack has partnered up with the Children’s Hospital Foundation at Erlanger to organize a head-shaving event called Jack’s Chattanoggins to raise money for children’s cancer treatments.
The event, which takes place Saturday, June 26, at the Chattanooga Market, will be more than just head-shaving. There will also be food, music, and an auction, which will include an original painting that was donated by artist Jill English, who lost her son to cancer.
For Jack, this will be the third time he has shaved his head to support children with cancer.
The head-shaving began when Jack was just 10 years old, after he was inspired by a book he read called Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, by Jordan Sonnenblick, in which a boy shaves his head to support his younger brother after he is diagnosed with leukemia.
“He finished the book and he just announced to me that he needed to shave his head,” his mother, Dawn Skowronnek, said.
Skowronnek said she wanted to teach her son that he could do more than just shave his head to support these kids, that he could also raise money to help pay the high cost of their treatment.
The first two year’s that Jack shaved his head, he signed up to do so through St. Baldricks, a national, non-profit organization that encourages people to shave their heads and donate to help cancer patients. In those two years, Jack raised more than $5,000.
This year, Skowronnek said Paul Smith, general manager of the Chattanooga Market, contacted her and asked if Jack would like to have his own event there.
“I was driving down the road and I listened to the story (on the radio) about Jack … and what he was doing and I wanted to do something,” Smith said. “It was just heartwarming and it sounded like it needed a larger audience.”
As a result of that, and the support of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Jack’s Chattanoggins was created.
“I plan on doing this for the rest of my life,” Jack said. “It made me feel like you don’t have to know who the person is you just have to have a heart and care.”
One day, he said he hopes to have 1,000 people shave their heads at the event.
Smith, who has signed up to have his head shaved, said, “The best way for people to get involved … is to come in and put a little money down on our heads.”
How it works
Volunteers, called “shavees” will shave their heads in support of the children who lose their hair to cancer treatments. They will then receive donations in their names from friends and family members who want to support them.
All of the money raised will go to the Children’s Hospital Foundation and help fund treatments for the more than 50 Chattanooga-area children who are diagnosed with cancer each year.