Dash Drives: Turning a bad memory into a lifesaving effort

During his first year battling leukemia, 7-year-old Dash Ohlsen received 19 blood transfusions. “You just don’t realize how important blood donations are until someone you know needs a transfusion,” says Dash’s dad, Taner. “Those times when Dash needed blood he was very, very vulnerable. It was really scary.”

Two years ago, on the one-year anniversary of Dash’s diagnosis, Taner says he and his wife, Kara, needed a distraction. Something to steer away the negative emotions and distract their minds from the “one year ago today” memories that drug them down.

“Because Dash had so many transfusions that first year, we developed a passion for blood donation, so we decided to team up with United Blood Services to hold blood drives at area elementary schools. These drives, which became known as “Dash Drives,” begin with presentations at the schools, teaching students about the importance of blood donation, who needs blood, what it feels like to donate, and a call to action – asking each child to invite one person to donate blood at a drive that takes place at the school a week or two later.

That first year, 2015, there were two blood drives, one of which was at Dash’s school. They were so successful that last year, 10 Dash Drives were held – six in Bismarck, two in Minot, and two in Williston, resulting in 352 units of blood donated. According to Travis Dressler, donor recruitment manager for United Blood Services, one donation has the potential to save three people’s lives, which means more than 1,000 lives were potentially impacted because of last year’s Dash Drives.

“It’s so cool to see these elementary-age kids doing such a great thing in their communities,” Dressler says. “By encouraging people to donate blood, they are truly making a difference and saving lives.”

This year, the number of drives increased to 11, three of which have already taken place. If you ever wonder about the power of a child’s persuasion, take a look at the drive held last week in Minot. “There were 29 people who signed up and 113 people showed up to donate,” Taner says. “Travis with United Blood Services said it was the biggest turnout he’s ever seen.”

More than 100 people showed up to a “Dash Drive” at Edison Elementary School in Minot.

There are still plenty of opportunities to donate blood at one of the remaining Dash Drives, which are open to the public. “Dash alone received 20 donations total, and some kids with other types of cancer require 100 or more donations,” Taner says. “When you look at that plus all of the adults with cancer, accident victims, and all the other people who need it – that shows the amount of blood necessary to keep up the supply. And blood isn’t something you can just make, you need people to donate it. It’s an incredibly important gift.”

Following are the remaining Dash Drives for this year:

Lincoln Elementary, Lincoln
Saturday, Feb. 11

Centennial Elementary, Bismarck
Thursday, Feb. 16

Solheim Elementary, Bismarck (Dash’s school)
Wednesday, Feb. 22

Rickard Elementary, Williston
Thursday, Feb. 23

Lewis and Clark Elementary, Williston
Friday, Feb. 24

Pioneer Elementary, Bismarck
Tuesday, Feb. 28

Washington Elementary, Minot
March 1

Hoeven Elementary, Minot
March 3

There is a Brave the Shave event for you

Brave the Shave - Main Event_Greg DeSaye-8.jpg
Eight Brave the Shave events will be held across the region to raise money to fight childhood cancer.

There is no excuse to miss out on Brave the Shave 2017. Eight events will be held at locations in North, South Dakota and Wyoming in many different venues and on several different dates. Mark your calendars to attend one of these fun events – all of which are held to support a very worthy cause ­– fighting childhood cancer!

Brave the Shave online auction

Wednesday, March 1-Friday, March 10

The 2017 Brave the Shave online auction will include autographed memorabilia, gift cards, gift baskets, hand-crafted items, event tickets, and much more. Preview the auction at We will continue to add items until March 9, 2017. Dig deep, it’s for the kids!

Brave the Shave Family Boot Camp

Sunday, March 5 @ 1 p.m.
McDowell Gym, Missouri Valley Family YMCA
$20/individual or $50/family through Feb. 17
$25/individual or $60/family after Feb. 17

This superhero-themed boot camp will benefit Brave the Shave’s “super kids.” One side of the gym will feature a family-friendly boot camp, complete with an awesome obstacle course, and adults will be able to get their sweat on with a high-intensity boot camp on the other side. T-shirts will be available while supplies last. Register at

Guns ‘n Hoses
Tuesday, March 7 @ 6:30 p.m.
Imagine Home Center, Mandan

Local law enforcement and fire departments will square off – shaving their heads to raise money to fight pediatric cancer. Visit for more information or to donate.

Kupper Automotive Drives Hope Event
Wednesday, March 8 @ 2 p.m.
Bismarck Motor Company

Kupper employees, their children, and anyone from the public is welcome to come and support Brave the Shave at this head-shaving event. Learn more or donate at

Mercer County Brave the Shave
Thursday, March 9 @ 1:30 p.m.
Dakota Gasification Company, Beulah

Raise money and shave your head, cut eight or more inches of hair, or donate to your favorite person shaving. Visit to sign up to participate or donate.

Flagship Event
Friday, March 10 @ 1:30 p.m. (Doors open at 1 p.m.)
Missouri Valley Family YMCA

In addition to hair cutting and head shaving, the event will include a photo booth, children’s crafts, silent auction, face painting, balloon creations, and local mascots. Several children battling cancer and their families will be honored at this event. Visit to learn more, sign up to participate, or donate.

Campbell County Brave the Shave
Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 1 p.m. (MST)
Dry Fork Station

At this event it will be a hair cutting and head-shaving frenzy to help fight childhood cancer. Visit to sign up to participate or donate.

Bismarck Bobcats Brave the Shave night
Saturday, March 18 @ Puck drops at 7:15 p.m.
VFW Sports Center

Before the hockey game begins, several Bobcats players and coaches will have their heads shaved on center-ice. The players’ signature Brave the Shave jerseys worn that night will be auctioned off immediately following the game.

Brookings Brave the Shave
Monday, March 20 @ 4:30 p.m.

In addition to hair cutting, head shaving, and a live radio broadcast, one of the event’s most popular fundraisers is the annual gun raffle. This year, 1,000 tickets will be sold at $10 a ticket for a chance to win the grand prize, a gun package valued at $1,000. Other prizes include $300 and $200 Visa gift cards. Questions about the raffle? Contact Kristie Ching at 605-651-1120. Keep up to date on the event and its activities by following it on Facebook at or sign up to participate or donate at

You don’t have to go bald!

Brave the Shave is all about kids. We’ve said that time and time again.

Each year, many feet of hair are donated during our Brave the Shave events. This year, the hair will be going to an organization that was set up specifically for kids who have lost their hair due to cancer and other medically-related issues such as burns and Alopecia. And here’s the kicker. The families of these kids don’t have to pay a dime for the wigs.

This nonprofit organization, Children with Hair Loss, was founded in 2000 by Regina Villemure, a hairstylist whose three-year-old niece was diagnosed with leukemia. Regina noticed during her niece’s treatment that many of the children in similar situations either didn’t have hair or wore outdated synthetic wigs.

Being in the cosmetology industry, Regina knew that hairpieces were very expensive and most families couldn’t afford human hair. After doing a lot of research and finding that no other organization at that time was giving human hair replacements to kids at no cost, her passion for hair evolved into a mission, and today, Children with Hair Loss donates more than 300 customized hairpieces to boys and girls every year, giving them renewed confidence and self-esteem.

Unlike other organizations that make hair replacements, Children with Hair Loss accepts hair that is as short as 8 inches (although longer is preferred) and chemically treated (although non-chemically treated hair is preferred, any hair in good condition is accepted).fe-hair-donation

To this day, Children With Hair Loss has never charged a child for a hairpiece, and runs solely on charitable donations. What more could you expect from an organization with the slogan, “Covering young heads to heal young hearts?”

If you are interested in donating your hair during Brave the Shave, visit



Brookings, SD to ‘Brave the Shave’ March 20

For the sixth year, Deer Creek Station is sponsoring a Brave the Shave event in Brookings, SD, to raise money to help fight childhood cancer. This head-shaving extravaganza will be held on Monday, March 20 at 4:30 p.m. The Volunteer Brookings Fire Department will host the event at its east station, located at 607 20th Avenue in Brookings.

In addition to the hair cutting, head shaving, and a live radio broadcast, one of the event’s most popular fundraisers is the annual gun raffle. This year, 1,000 tickets will be sold at $10 a ticket for a chance to win the grand prize, a gun package valued at $1,000. Other prizes include $300 and $200 Visa gift cards. Questions about the raffle? Contact Kristie Ching at 605-651-1120.

Those interested in donating or participating in the event as an individual or a team can do so at  You can also keep up to date on the event and its activities by following it on Facebook.


You don’t have to shave your head to get involved!

Last year’s online auction  featured 323 items and raised more than $21,000, which went a long way in supporting local families and furthering pediatric cancer research.

You don’t have to shave your head to get involved in the 10th annual Brave the Shave event, coming up on March 10, there is another way you can help support area families struggling through the challenging diagnosis that is childhood cancer.

For the seventh year, an auction will be part of the Brave the Shave event. Last year’s online auction featured 323 items and raised more than $21,000, which went a long way in supporting local families and furthering pediatric cancer research. Donations for this year’s auction are already starting to trickle in. So far we’ve received items including 15 tons of crushed asphalt and gravel, a Sony Blu-ray disc player with streaming services, weekend hotel and dining package, fishing rod and reel combo, and various gift baskets and gift cards from area businesses.

Do you have season tickets to a sporting event? Consider donating one game. Do you have a once-treasured piece of memorabilia setting around your house that’s now collecting dust?  Think of the joy it could bring to someone else. Own your own business and want to get your name and products or services out into the community? Help your business and Brave the Shave by offering up a few gift cards.

Your donation would greatly assist children and families whose lives have been forever altered by cancer. In exchange for your support, your logo and website will be displayed alongside the item in our online auction. This is a great opportunity to show your support of kids fighting cancer and your commitment to making a difference in their fight – people right here in our community.

The deadline to donate is Monday, March 6, 2017. Contact Jeremy Woeste at [email protected] if you are interested in donating. We can even arrange to have your item picked up.

Your donation means more than you can imagine to the kids in our community fighting cancer. It means hope, support and camaraderie.

Let’s show these brave kids they’re not alone, and we are there to help them fight, and beat, this challenging diagnosis.


Shave, shave again

After hearing about 6-year-old Chase Jones’ cancer diagnosis,  mom, Marcie Jones’ cousin, Lucky (bottom right),  was the first to shave his head. He told Chase he wanted to be on his “superhero team.” Chase’s 6-year-old cousin, Kynlee (bottom left), was the youngest family member to shave her head.

It all started with a relative Marcie Jones hadn’t seen or spoken to since she was a little girl. Following the November diagnosis of her 6-year-old son, Chase, with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (made high risk because of the dangerous and rare Philadelphia chromosome that affects how the cancer reacts to treatment), this distant relative called Marcie saying her husband shaved his head so he could be on what he called “Chase’s superhero team.” He then sent Chase a picture of himself – bald and dressed as a superhero.

When Chase’s hair started falling out, he told his mom he was afraid nobody would like him without hair. After that heartbreaking comment, Chase’s mom, dad, 15-year-old brother, and even 10 and 19-year-old sisters (who really love their hair) all shaved their heads to stand in solidarity with their son and little brother.

Since then, more than 20 relatives and friends – men, women boys and girls (the youngest being six years old) – have faced the clippers so they can be part of the squad that’s been affectionately dubbed “Chase’s superheroes.”

Even though the Jones family has already proved that bald is beautiful, many of them plan to shave again in March for Brave the Shave’s 10th campaign event. “Brave the Shave has been incredibly awesome,” Marcie says. “It’s unbelievable how much help the organization has given us and how much stress it has lifted off our shoulders. We want to give back, and this is the perfect way to do that.”

Join “Chase’s Superhero Squad” and go bald on March 10. Create a team at and start fundraising to help kids like Chase. The funds you raise will go toward research and to  support North Dakota area families fighting childhood cancer.


More than 20 relatives and friends – men, women boys and girls (the youngest being six years old) – have gone under the clippers to show their support for Chase.