50 Reasons to Care

We are less than two months away from the Brave the Shave Flagship Event on April 4th. As we prepare, it’s nice to see first hand why we care so much. So, for each of the next 50 days, we will be sharing on our Facebook page a photo and a story of a child that has been impacted by cancer. Meet Zach Deem and his family from Fargo.

In June of 2016, 14-year-old Zach was your typical teen getting a good start to his summer. After several days of high fevers, doctors diagnosed him with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

After a brutal three-and-a-half year treatment course, Zach took his last oral chemo on October 10, 2019. Throughout it all, Zach has always kept a positive frame of mind. In his free time he loves to draw and in the future he may seek a career as a mechanic. To follow the rest of our kids go to our Facebook page.   

Our stories do not always have happy endings, but they are stories of hope, resilience and deep love. We hope that you find these stories hopeful and give you a reason to care and to join us. You can also sign up for one of our events on our website. And thank you for caring.

Research Works!

Brave the Shave helps kids with cancer and their families both emotionally and financially.  We also formed a partnership with the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation to support cutting edge research.  The B+ Foundation was created by Joe McDonough after he lost his 14 year old son Andrew to cancer.  Since that time Joe has established a world class children’s cancer research effort.  Please take five minutes and listen to Joe talk about some of the incredible research developments.  Remember, it’s your participation and support that have made this possible and we thank you.

Holiday Remembrance

The holidays naturally bring about reflection. As we reflect on this past year, it’s marked with both loss and triumph, but most off all, gratitude. The courage of our kids. The unwavering strength of our families. The generosity of the community.

We honor those kids who have fought so bravely but have passed. Hunter Seifert of Bismarck was diagnosed with Rhabdomyocarcoma when he was just 14 years old. After two years of his brave fight, sadly he passed away in February. Hunter is one of five honorees we lost to cancer this year. To say that the loss is devastating does not do it justice. We will always remember them. We will use their resolve to keep moving forward in a way that would make them proud and do justice to their fight.

With this loss came light. This year we provided more than $200,000 in support to area families in need. We recently provided a blitz of Christmas support to all of our families, paying monthly bills so they could buy gifts for their children. Additionally, your support has paid mortgages, utility bills, vehicle payments, and bought cars, provided gas and lodging, established air purification systems in homes, and so much more.

The gratitude our families express in the face of the unthinkable fuels us and inspires us to do more. We thank you for all you have done for Brave the Shave. 

As always, your support is never expected, but it is greatly appreciated. If you’d like to provide a gift this holiday season, we encourage you to click the donate link below.

New Year from our brave families to yours.

DONATE

Have a Lovely Day

Have a lovely day! That was Cully Oothoudt’s favorite saying and we want to take a moment to remind you, without asking anything, to have a lovely day. Sometimes that can be hard to remember. We try to remind ourselves that we should be grateful. Yet, as we move through our days it is easy to lose track of what is important.

So today we just want to encourage you to reach out to somebody you care about, reach out to someone you love or even to someone you just met for the first time and remind them to have a lovely day. While Cully can’t be here to remind us every day, we know that he would want us to remember, so we’ve attached a short “have a lovely day” from Cully.

The world could use a lot more of those reminders. Let this be one. If you want to hear more of Cully’s story you can watch a video of Taner Ohlsen and Scott Oothoudt talking about Cully.

Have a lovely day!

Wahpeton Family Experiences the Worst of Humanity and the Best of Humanity Amidst Cancer Diagnosis

Connie Petermann has never been one to rely on others or easily accept help. That’s why when an acquaintance wanted to hold a benefit for Connie’s 16 year-old son Jacob, who had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, she respectfully declined. The acquaintance then came back a couple weeks later and told Connie that several people want to do this for the Petermann family, they would handle all of the details, and they would really like Connie’s blessing to move forward. Connie relented and plans were put in motion. The benefit consisted of a basketball tournament, jambalaya feed, silent auction, and bake sale. It lasted all day and there was never a dull moment.

After the benefit, a small amount of money was handed over to Connie from the bake sale and silent auction, but the majority of funds were never turned over. Connie contacted the person who coordinated the benefit and only received excuses and delays. After a period of time, a community member contacted the Wahpeton Police Department, who then started an investigation. The police investigation has not reported an amount of money that is missing, but has said that it is believed to be “significant.” Connie looks back on it and realizes she should have seen red flags. The woman who approached her was a person that Connie didn’t know well, yet the woman was so insistent on helping the family. “That’s what makes this so hurtful,” said Connie. “I prayed for weeks that this was just a mix-up and the money would be there. I never dreamed someone could be so evil as to steal from a sick child.”

When word spread about what had happened to the Petermann family, Connie was surrounded by a community of people whose intentions were pure and they were determined to right the wrong that had been done. The Wahpeton community did a drive to raise some of the missing funds and unbelievably raised $13,000 in just three hours! With the support of their community and the police department now handling the investigation, the Petermanns are able to focus on what is most important; fully supporting Jacob and his needs. Jacob is looking forward to a clear check-up in December when the family again goes to Minneapolis for x-rays and scans. Jacob’s biggest hurdle going forward is learning to walk with his new prosthetic. It is an ottobock c-leg with a microprocessor in the knee to help with a person’s own unique gait. With delays due to unexpected surgeries, receiving the prosthetic is an important step in his recovery process. In September and October, Jacob had two lung surgeries to remove nodules. Learning to walk with the prosthetic is the number one goal at this point because it will give Jacob much more freedom and confidence. As any teenager does, Jacob just wants to return to being an independent, young adult. This includes suiting up as number 34 for the Wahpeton Huskies basketball team. Have a fun and successful season, Jacob! And most importantly, a healthy one.