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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eleven years ago, Basin Electric supported a head-shaving event to raise money for a national pediatric cancer research organization. Throughout the years, it has grown by leaps and bounds, moving from the board room at Basin Electric’s headquarters to a packed event at the Bismarck YMCA and beyond Bismarck to locations across North Dakota, South Dakota, and even into Wyoming.
The focus of support has expanded over the years, moving away from solely childhood cancer research to a more local approach with the start of the Brave the Shave Family Fund, which supports area families with the many added expenses that accompany a childhood cancer diagnosis, while continuing support for research.
This year, Brave the Shave has undergone another exciting change. In January 2018, it ventured out on its own, receiving its federal IRS designation as a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt charity and is now independent of Basin Electric.
Basin Electric still supports this worthy cause, recently pledging $150,000 over the next three years. And though Brave the Shave is now an independent charity, Basin Electric employees are still actively involved in Brave the Shave and its activities, whether it’s volunteering their time, donating to their favorite individual shaving, or shaving their own heads, just as they have done in the past.
Following is a list of Basin Electric employee-led teams:
“Basin Electric is proud to support Brave the Shave and congratulate it on stepping out on its own,” says Curt Pearson, Basin Electric’s director of communications and creative services. “We urge other area businesses to show their support for this very worthy charity that helps so many families during an extremely challenging time.”
It’s a word with many synonyms – awesome, significant, important, awe-inspiring and unforgettable. When it comes to describing Brave the Shave, all of these adjectives are applicable, but monumental is the perfect representation. I’m going to tell you a little about this monumental organization and let you decide for yourself if you agree.
Brave the Shave was established for fundraising for pediatric cancer research. It was during this time that Brave the Shave discovered a need to provide support to not only the research of pediatric cancer afflicting so many children, but also to provide assistance to the families of these little fighters.
To fulfill this desire, the Brave the Shave Family Fund was created. The Brave the Shave Family Fund has a committee that reviews each request from families. The money that is raised through fundraising and sponsorships is divided between these two efforts based on a review if the needs of The Family Fund and the evaluation of research opportunities. As of 2018, Brave the Shave continues to support both of these efforts. Brave the Shave’s research support comes through a partnership with the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation.
A Huge Weight Lifted
Being a parent is stressful enough. Now there’s this life-changing diagnosis your precious child has cancer? The mind races like the heart during this time. Believe me, my family knows this first hand. Our son Chase was diagnosed with Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age 6 on Nov. 3, 2016.
Once we began to come to grips with what was happening that it was real and not a dream, and the shock was beginning to lessen, we received a phone call from a friendly voice from Brave the Shave. They expressed their sympathy for having experienced the diagnosis of our loved one, but also reassured us that we will be far from alone as we embark on the journey of treatment and recovery.
As a child begins to go through treatment, the expenses begin to pile up almost immediately. Medical bills are far from the only expenses a family begins to incur. A big expense is travel. Things such as food, lodging, transportation, etc. As much as we all wish it could, life does not stop. In most situations a parent will either have a significant reduction in work or have to stop all together. This can cause a family to easily fall behind and begin to feel unbelievable stresses and worry constantly about how they will ever get caught up again.
This is where Brave the Shave steps in to help. They believe strongly that the most important thing a family with a loved one battling cancer can focus on is the care and health of their precious child, as well as trying to maintain a sense of normalcy at home. To do this, families can submit a request for financial assistance with something that they are struggling to afford. This takes a huge weight off the shoulders of a family and allows them to use that time to concentrate on family and the treatment of their warrior battling cancer.
Don’t think for one second that this is where Brave the Shave believes the job is done. They follow social media pages devoted to the child’s journey and stay in constant contact for updates and to make sure that if they can help in any way, they do. They become a member of your family and care about your family just as they do their own!
The Excitement Never Stops
Brave the Shave provides financial assistance, but they don’t stop there. They believe families need to have some fun together and therefore they have created some incredible events.
For the families of the Brave the Shave Honorees, one such event is Brave the Shave Night with the Bismarck Bobcats hockey club. Prior to the game the honorees and their families are invited to a social with pizza and beverages, as well as a gift bag with some incredible goodies including a form of shirt, whether it be a jersey, hoodie, and more displaying that year’s event. Before the game starts, all of the honorees are taken onto the ice for a ceremonial puck drop.
During the game’s first intermission, the coach and a couple players volunteer to shave their heads to show their support. To raise funds, meet new people and provide a setting for the community to get together and show their support, Brave the Shave has created many events for 2018, including the Brave the Shave Flagship Event in Bismarck, ND, Saturday, April 14. Another awesome event is the Guns N’ Hoses event in Bismarck Wednesday, April 11. This event features local law enforcement (the Guns) challenging the local firefighters (the Hoses) to see who can raise more. There are five other Brave the Shave events in North Dakota scheduled for 2018 thus far.
For Brave The Shave to continue providing the financial assistance to families and assemble events, they need donations. There are ways you can participate, whether attending an event or simply choosing to make a donation, any contribution helps Brave the Shave take care of local families with a child battling cancer.
Krivoruchka bought just one $25 raffle ticket when approached by his girlfriend’s dad, who was participating in the Fishin’ for the Cure tournament.
“My younger brother had a brain tumor so I always try to support causes like this,” he says.
When he got the call that he won, Krivoruchka says he didn’t believe it, thinking it was “a buddy just messing with me. After I hung up, I called the guy back and found out I really did win it. I was pretty excited.”
In all, the raffle brought in $18,482, which will be split between Brave the Shave and Fishin’ for the Cure, all of it going toward childhood cancer research.
“It’s really good to hear that the raffle raised so much money,” Krivoruchka says. “It’s a great cause that’s close to my heart.”
His advice for those considering supporting similar causes by buying raffle tickets? “Buy one. You never know what could happen. You just might get lucky!”
Brave. It’s a word that we’ve all heard a lot lately. It implies courage and strength – sometimes strength that a person never knew they had.
In 2013, a song by the same name was released by singer Sara Bareilles and quickly became popular, an anthem for many people struggling with a major challenge in their life.
One of the biggest struggles anyone could ever face is cancer, especially when it’s a child who is dealing with it. The song, “Brave” has become near and dear to the hearts of many of our Brave the Shavefamilies, so as a tribute to them and all who were courageous enough to go bald for our little superheroes, a video featuring the song was produced.
Thank you to all the participants of this year’s Brave the Shave campaign, and to the kids, the bravest among us, this is for you.