14 teams honor Brave the Shave honorees

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This year there are 14 teams honoring Brave the Shave honorees. One of these teams,  “All Jazzed Up” honors 5-year-old honoree, Jazmine “Jazzy” Anderson.

Nearly 50 teams have been formed for the 2017 Brave the Shave campaign, and they’re all doing it for the same reason – for the kids and families impacted by childhood cancer. However, 14 of these teams are closer to the cause than the rest.

These 14 teams have been created to honor the children who are currently battling, who have come out of the battle cancer free, and who have become angels. Following are the 2017 Brave the Shave teams honoring Brave the Shave honorees:

Team BalderDash honors 10-year-old Dash Ohlsen, who has been battling leukemia for the past three years. Watch the video “When Dash gets to ring the bell,” to learn about a special moment he will soon experience in his treatment, and support Team BalderDash.

Cully’s Crew Cuts was created to honor 4-year-old Cullen Oothoudt, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015. Read more about Cully in the blog, “Big brother shows his love in first video of ‘kids helping kids’ series” and support Cully’s Crew Cuts.

NISC-Team Jadyn honors 5-year-old Jadyn Keller. Even though Jadyn just completed treatment in November, he asked to shave at this year’s flagship event. Donate to Team Jadyn.

Team Hunter was created for Hunter Seifert, a 14-year-old diagnosed with stage 4 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that forms in the body’s soft tissues, such as muscle and connective tissue, less than 6 months ago. Read more about Hunter in the post, “Seifert family didn’t know where to turn, then Brave the Shave showed up” and support Team Hunter.

Team Ryker honors 8-year-old Ryker Wallace, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in April of last year. Read more about Ryker in the post “Brave the Shave a ‘backbone’ for Wallace family” and donate to his team.

All Jazzed Up honors 5-year-old Jazmine Anderson, who was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, which encompasses a set of distinct genetic disorders that causes tumors to grow along various types of nerves, as well as optic glioma brain tumors. Donate to All Jazzed Up.

Cooper’s Crew was created to honor Cooper Peterson, who is known to many as “Super Cooper.” Cooper is nearly 3 years old and was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis and optic gliomas at 11 months old. Donate to Cooper’s Crew.

Zakk’s Attack on Cancer was created for 11-year-old Zakkry Arenz, who was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, the most common type of brain tumor in children, in January 2016. In December,  Zakk and his family received the wonderful news that he is in remission. Donate to Zakk’s Attack on Cancer.

Chase’s Superhero Squad was created for 6-year-old Chase Jones, who, this past November, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia and made high risk because of the dangerous and rare Philadelphia chromosome, which affects how the cancer reacts to treatment. Read more about Chase and how his family banded together to support him in the post, “Shave, shave again,” and donate to Chase’s Superhero Squad.

Go Grace Go honors 6-year-old Grace Bittner, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2010 when she was just four-and-a-half months old. Donate to Grace’s team.

Team Jiry honors 11-year-old Jiry Rosecrans, who was diagnosed nearly two years ago with craniopharyngioma, a rare brain tumor that develops before a child is even born. Read more about Jiry in the post, “11-year-old honoree Jiry invites you to Brave the Shave” and donate to her team.

Team Landon honors the memory of Landon LaVillie who became angel at the age of 5. The team was created by his mom, Michelle, who says her son “fought a good fight.” Support Landon’s memory.

Landon’s Warriors honors 6-year-old Landon Labine, who was diagnosed with astrocytoma of the brain in 2013. Support Landon’s Warriors.

 

KEM Electric to Brave the Shave for the first time ever

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Kevin Horner, a lineman with KEM Electric, will Brave the Shave on March 10 for kids with cancer.

For its first year ever, Basin Electric member cooperative KEM Electric, headquartered in Linton, is hosting its own head-shaving event to benefit the 2017 Brave the Shave campaign on Friday, March 10. During the event, six employees – nearly half of its staff – will be shaving their heads to raise money to benefit area families dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis and to help fund pediatric cancer research.

“It’s a good thing to do – raise money to help these kids with cancer. If there is anything we can do to help make their day a little brighter or to make their lives a little easier, then we should do it,” says Lisa Rossow, KEM Electric’s data and communication analyst.

The team’s participants originally set their fundraising goal at $200, but they’ve already blown that amount out of the water. Donate to KEM Electric’s team by visiting its fundraising page.

Something to give them hope and call their own

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When Brave the Shave family representative Taner Ohlsen saw an ambulance for sale while driving through Garrison, ND, it sparked an idea.

“I thought about the pink fire truck that drives around the area, giving hope to cancer fighters, especially women fighting breast cancer, and thought, how cool would it be to have a gold ambulance for kids fighting cancer to climb up in, push buttons, and play on?” he says. So he called the number on the for sale sign, and spoke to Sandra Nelson, board president of the Garrison-Max Ambulance District. After learning the price, he left the conversation intending to search for a sponsor to pay for it.

Sandra says she kept thinking about the conversation long after she hung up the phone. “I know it’s hard for a nonprofit to pay for something like this, but it’s also hard for a nonprofit to give it away, because it’s money that would be going back into the organization,” she says.

But she decided to bring the idea of donating the ambulance to the board at its monthly meeting, scheduled for the next day. “I didn’t even get it all out before everyone said, ‘yep, let’s do it,'” she says. “Everyone agreed that these kids needed this way more than we needed the money.” She says the board feels this is something that can give the kids a little hope, something they can call their own, and well worth donating.

The ambulance will be gold, the color that represents childhood cancer awareness, and feature cool, comic book-style pop art accents. The vehicle wrap was also generously donated thanks to United Printing of Bismarck. The ambulance is undergoing its transformation and will hopefully be completed by Brave the Shave’s flagship event in Bismarck, ND, on March 10.

Check out the video below of Sandra talking about the ambulance and what it means to donate it to Brave the Shave.

Superhero-themed boot camp will benefit Brave the Shave’s ‘super kids’

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This year’s kickoff event for Brave the Shave’s 10th year will leave you feeling like you’re faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound – no matter how old you are.

The Brave the Shave Boot Camp is right around the corner, and will no doubt be fun for the whole family. This superhero-themed boot camp to benefit Brave the Shave’s “super kids” will offer an awesome obstacle course for kids of all ages on one side of the gym, and adults will be able to get their sweat on with a high-intensity boot camp on the other side.

Join us on Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 1 p.m. at the Missouri Valley Family YMCA in Bismarck, ND. Cost is $25 per individual or $60 for the whole family. Proceeds will benefit the Brave the Shave Family Fund, which assists area families dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis, and the Andrew McDonough Be Positive (B+) Foundation, an organization committed to providing world-class, cutting-edge pediatric cancer research.

Register at https://bravetheshave.coop/Event/Boot_Camp/, and don’t forget your cape!

Brave the Shave featured in area magazine

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Brave the Shave is featured in the March/April issue of Bismarck Magazine, which hit the stands March 1. The article, “Helping kids fight cancer one shaved head at a time” tells the story of one of our brave honorees, 11-year-old Zakkry Arenz, who was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, the most common type of brain tumor in children, in January 2016.

The article also includes a list of this year’s area events, as well as a sidebar on the Brave the Shave Family Fund, and what it means to honoree families.

Bismarck Magazine is available free of charge at several area grocery stories, salons, and other local businesses. Pick up a copy today!

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Coffee for a cause: Honoree creates signature latte to benefit Brave the Shave

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Proceeds from every Dash Smash sold in March will go to the Ohlsen family’s Brave the Shave team, “Team BalderDash.”

For the rest of March, you can get caffeinated while supporting a great cause.

Bismarck coffee shop Caffe Aroma is offering a special drink created by Brave the Shave honoree 10-year-old Dash Ohlsen.

This drink, which he has dubbed the “Dash Smash,” starts with coffee, then adds chocolate and vanilla, and is topped with whipped cream, crushed Heath bar, and a strawberry on top.

Proceeds from each Dash Smash will be donated to the Ohlsen family’s Brave the Shave team, “Team BalderDash.”

Money raised from this and all other teams will be used to benefit the Brave the Shave Family Fund and pediatric cancer research through the Andrew McDonough Be Positive (B+) Foundation.

 

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Dash works with a Caffe Aroma Barista to create his signature drink, the “Dash Smash.”

11-year-old honoree Jiry invites you to Brave the Shave

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Jiry loves spending time with her friends and family. She is pictured here with her sister, Janèe.

Jiry Rosecrans, is a sweet, well-spoken, positive 11-year-old girl. She loves volleyball, figure skating, arts and crafts, and math.

Nearly two years ago, Jiry was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma, a rare brain tumor that develops before a child is even born. “I knew there was something wrong from birth until she was diagnosed,” says Jiry’s mom, Bridget. “She had lots of medical problems – vision issues, headaches, strange pains in her body, flashes of light … but nobody could figure out what it was.”

They finally found the answer on May 4, 2015. Bridget says it has been a whirlwind ever since, with a brain surgery soon after diagnosis and treatments that have required them to spend extended periods of time away from home. One of the treatments was a nine-week stint in a hyperbaric chamber at Mayo Clinic, done because Jiry was going blind. This 100 percent oxygen-filled chamber forces oxygen into the bloodstream to promote healing. “It saved my eyesight,” Jiry says.

In addition to the treatments, staying in motels and eating in hospital cafeterias and restaurants for four, six, and nine weeks at a time really puts a financial strain on a family. And sometimes, when you think nothing else can go wrong, it does. “When we were at Mayo for one of Jiry’s treatments, I ran over a nail and it got into the sidewall of my tire,” Bridget says. “I was wondering how in the world I was going to pay for these new tires, because the person at the repair shop told me I had to buy all four or it would ruin the transmission.”

Then Brave the Shave stepped in. “They called and said, ‘Go get those tires. We want to make sure you get to Jiry’s treatments safely,’” Bridget says. “Brave the Shave has also helped us with motel stays and gas cards. I can’t even begin to say how much it has helped us. It allows us to focus on our child rather than sitting at the table trying to figure out how we’re going to scramble up enough money to get to the next doctor appointment or figure out how we’re going to pay for the next nine-week motel stay. Brave the Shave has truly been a Godsend for our family.”

In addition to creating “Team Jiry” to participate in the head-shaving festivities, she will also be bringing several containers filled with change to the event. She and fellow honoree, 8-year-old John Freer, have placed the containers in businesses across their hometown of Langdon, ND, encouraging patrons to drop in their spare change to support Brave the Shave and its efforts to fight childhood cancer through family support and research.

She is also encouraging people, whether they attend the event or not, to donate their hair to Children with Hair Loss, an organization that provides wigs to children dealing with medical-related hair loss at no charge. This is a cause near and dear to Jiry’s heart, and she donated her own hair several times prior to her own diagnosis.

Jiry and Bridget are looking forward to attending Brave the Shave’s flagship event in Bismarck on March 10, and they invite you to come, too.

Big brother shows his love in first video of “kids helping kids” series

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The Oothoudt family is a close-knit bunch. Big brother, Nathan, pictured third from left, is excited to shave his head in honor of his little brother, 4-year-old Brave the Shave honoree, Cully, pictured fifth from left.

Nothing is stronger than the power of kids helping kids. This year, Brave the Shave is showing this in a series of videos featuring siblings who are shaving their heads in honor of their brother or sister fighting the battle of their lives – pediatric cancer.

The series kicks off with Nathan Oothoudt, 11-year-old big brother to 4-year-old Brave the Shave honoree, Cullen. Nathan will be shaving his head at this year’s flagship event on March 10.

“Cully,” as he is affectionately known to his family and friends, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer, in November 2015. After surgery in Fargo and proton radiation and chemotherapy at Mayo Clinic, the Oothoudt family found out in September that Cully is relapsing, and recent scans showed significant tumor growth. He is currently receiving a new type of chemotherapy and homeopathic remedies.

“Cully is a special kid, really kindhearted,” says his dad, Scott. “It’s amazing how positive he is. He doesn’t complain about anything. He’s very strong, happy-go-lucky, and loves his brothers and sisters.”

And they love him. Nathan said one of the main reasons he decided to shave his head was so his little brother could have fun cutting his hair off with the clippers. Check out the video to see what else Cully and Nathan do when they’re together, and be sure to check out their Brave the Shave team, “Cully’s Crew Cuts.”

Seifert family didn’t know where to turn, then Brave the Shave showed up

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Brave the Shave honoree, Hunter, seated third from left, loves playing golf, football, and video games.

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.

Brave the Shave a ‘backbone’ for Wallace family

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Brave the Shave honoree Ryker, pictured second from left, is the comedian of the Wallace family.

Ryker Wallace loves sports, and he is the comedian in his family. “He’s a very happy kid. He likes to laugh and make jokes,” says his mom, Ashley. “He is the youngest of four boys, so there is a lot of fun to be had at our house – teasing and playing football with his brothers.”

When the family found out he had a brain tumor in April of last year, he was seven years old. “He had an MRI on Friday and we were on our way to Fargo Friday night,” she says. Ryker had brain surgery two days later and was in the hospital for 12 days.

When the family returned home, Ryker had a package waiting for him from Brave the Shave. It contained an iPad.

“This was a huge blessing because it makes a big difference when he goes to his appointments. He sometimes has to wait a long time, and it keeps him busy and helps keep his mind off what he’s going through. That thing goes everywhere with us,” Ashley says.

That was the first time the Wallace family had ever heard of Brave the Shave, and had no idea how it would become part of their life. “Parents of the Brave” is a page on Facebook where honoree families go to share their frustrations, ask questions, and vent with a group of people who can truly understand what they are going through. “It’s been a huge help,” Ashley says. “Once you get to be part of the group, you realize you’re not alone – other families are going through the same thing and they’re there to support you. They can give you advice about what has worked and what hasn’t in their experiences, which is a big help. And they’re there to lift you up when you don’t know what to do. You hear their stories and successes and it gives you hope.”

Being around other kids that are in the same boat has also helped Ryker immensely, because he sees there are other kids just like him. “It makes him feel like he’s not alone in the battle, and that’s huge,” she says.

Ryker is now halfway through his treatment, which includes one heavy chemo treatment once a month in Fargo and two easier follow-up ones in Bismarck. The Brave the Shave Family Fund has helped ease the financial burden of these trips to Fargo with gas cards and hotel vouchers.

Even though the family has only known about Brave the shave for a short time, Ashley now considers it a “backbone” for all the families going through the journey that is childhood cancer. “When you feel hopeless and don’t know if you can get through it, Brave the Shave is behind you, rooting for you and your family. It’s a lot to take in and a lot of worry, but it’s great to know that you don’t have to go through it alone.”