Fourteen-year-old Hunter Seifert is a pretty typical freshman boy, says his mom, Julie. He likes to golf, he’s a fast runner (although he doesn’t like to run), play video games, and play football.
When Hunter didn’t feel well this past fall and was increasingly tired, Julie, and his dad, Dan, thought he had a bug – maybe mono or something like it. When he all of a sudden couldn’t run down the football field and told them he didn’t think he could even stand through a game, they took him to the doctor.
“We were told at seven ‘o clock that evening that there was something seriously wrong, and by the next day we were on our way to the children’s hospital in Minneapolis,” Julie says. “We got the news a couple days later.” The news? Hunter had Stage 4 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that forms in the body’s soft tissues, such as muscle and connective tissue. Like Hunter, most cases of this type of cancer are found in adolescents, teenagers, and young adults. Julie says that tumors have pretty much invaded his body – they’re on his lungs, pelvis, kidneys, stomach area, and back.
“I didn’t even know Brave the Shave existed until we were thrown into this situation, and then they were there right away,” Julie says. While the Seiferts were still in Minneapolis right after Hunter’s diagnosis, Brave the Shave sent a cleaning service to their house to do a deep cleaning. It also sent a company to clean the house’s duct work. Both services are something the Brave the Shave Family Fund does for all its honoree families to help get the germs out of the house, because cancer patients have compromised immune systems.
“When your child is first diagnosed with cancer, you don’t know what to do or where to turn – you’re kind of in a fog,” Dan says. “But then Brave the Shave shows up and helps you with your mortgage or car payment so you can buy your kids Christmas presents, or gets your son an iPad to help make chemo treatments a little easier for him. It allows you to take a deep breath and relax. They make life a lot easier.”
In addition to the family fund, money raised during Brave the Shave events also goes to to the Andrew McDonough Be Positive (B+) Foundation to support pediatric cancer research, a cause that is near and dear to Julie’s heart. “As the mother of a son who is battling this right now, research is a top priority. We want to see Hunter for many, many years to come, so it’s extremely important to our family.”
Dan agrees, saying, “I hope they find a cure someday so people won’t have to go through the pain we feel right now.”
Julie and Dan’s brother-in-law formed “Team Hunter” for Brave the Shave’s main event March 10. Hunter’s dad, younger brothers, Mason and Carter, and several other family members will be going bald to support Hunter and raise money for the family fund and childhood cancer research. Even Hunter’s 13-year-old sister, Gabrielle, will participate by cutting and donating her long, brown locks, which will be sent to the organization, Children with Hair Loss to be made into a wig. “It’s a way to help other people who are going through this,” Gabrielle says. “I didn’t really want to go bald, but I can still do something to support the team.”
To donate to Team Hunter or any other Brave the Shave team, or to create your own team, visit bravetheshave.coop.