Guns ‘n Hoses to be held tonight

Team Hoses, including Joe Gartner, pictured in the back row, third from left. Joe’s 2-year-old son, Levi, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma.

Tonight is the 5th annual Guns N’ Hoses event – a Brave the Shave event where law enforcement officers (guns) and firefighters (hoses) face off to raise money and get their heads shaved to support families dealing with childhood cancer and to help fund pediatric cancer research.

For the past four years, it has been a friendly rivalry, and while it still is, this year one of the brave honorees is one of their own.

Last March, shortly after the Brave the Shave events ended, Levi Gartner, the 1-year-old son of Bismarck firefighter Joe Gartner was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. “The day we found out, our world just crashed down around us,” Joe says. “My wife and I had been very active with Brave the Shave and other charities, and we couldn’t help but ask, ‘Why us? Why does something like this have to happen to the people who help others?’”

After Levi’s diagnosis, the Gartners spent eight-and-a-half months straight in Minneapolis while Levi underwent treatment. During that time, Joe’s brothers and sisters at the fire department took his shifts so he could be with his family. “If I could make it home to take a shift, I would, but that wasn’t very often,” Joe says. “Without their help, I probably wouldn’t even have a job right now. I will never be able to thank them enough, and I will always be in debt to them for allowing me to be with my son while he was so sick and going through treatment.”

Levi Gartner.

Today, Levi has completed chemotherapy and is currently in his third round of immunotherapy, a treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer. Other than being fed through a feeding tube, Joe says Levi is a spunky, giggly 2-year-old boy who loves life.

Joe will be shaving his head at tonight’s Guns N’ Hoses event just as he has for the past several years, but says this year it means more than it ever has before. “When I first participated in the event five years ago, it was just about raising money to help others,” he says. “Today, it’s much more personal. Seeing my brothers and sisters and my law enforcement family come together to raise money not just for others, but for my son, touches my heart more than it ever has. It means a lot.”

Heather Cecil and Tyler Mees, deputies with the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department will be representing Team Guns at tonight’s Brave the Shave event in Mandan, ND.

Guns N’ Hoses begins at 6:30 p.m. at Imagine Home Center in Mandan, ND. It is open to the public and is a family event. Attend the event or donate to Team Guns or Team Hoses.

14 teams honor Brave the Shave honorees

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

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


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’


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, and don’t forget your cape!

Brave the Shave featured in area magazine


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!


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

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.


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

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

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

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