UNMC LiveGreen - Why I shaved my head

by Anne Rivas, UNMC LiveGreen | July 30, 2013

picture disc.
Anne Rivas
The only child with cancer that I knew of was a boy in my daughter's school. When he lost his hair, all of the boys in his class shaved their heads so he wouldn't feel like he was different. Their compassionate example has stayed with me.

I shaved my head at the St. Baldrick's Foundation event here at UNMC to draw attention to childhood cancer and raise money for research. Their funding gives children across the country access to the latest in research and clinical trials and supports research into cancer treatment for adolescents and young adults, who have a lower survival rate than younger children and older adults.

See photos from this year's St. Baldrick's event here.

Research is key, because while some adult cancers are linked to lifestyle and may be preventable, little is known about the causes of childhood cancer. We don't know enough about the factors that contribute to childhood cancer or how to prevent it. We do know that the environment around us can have an effect.

A 2010 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found a positive association between childhood leukemia and exposure to residential pesticides, and concluded that further research is needed. Environmental contamination (which includes drinking water quality) has also been linked to childhood cancer. Air pollution has been linked to premature mortality, causing millions of deaths each year. Heck, air pollution has even been tied to an increase in appendicitis risk.

While St. Baldrick's Foundation raises money to support curing childhood cancers, another piece of the puzzle is cancer prevention. I am proud to work at UNMC, where vital research is taking place, where fundraisers for treatment of childhood cancer are supported, and where a healthy environment is fostered through energy conservation, recycling, and education.

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Anne Lawlor
July 30, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Way to go, Anne! You look great and what a compassionate thing you have done!