A close shave to fight cancerPublished 9:49pm Monday, June 17, 2013
For a very good reason, Evelyn Arnold has no qualms about losing her hair.
“It’s going to grow back,” the Suffolk mom said. “Hair grows back. Kids don’t.”
She plans to shave her hair for pediatric cancer June 30 as part of the fourth annual St. Baldrick’s 46 Mommas: Shave for the Brave event, taking place in San Antonio, Texas.
“Really, it’s an honor to be part of this group of brave women who are dedicated to raising awareness and raise funds for pediatric cancer research,” Arnold said.
Arnold’s son, Erick, now 10, was diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma at age 7, and she plans the radical haircut as an action of solidarity with other pediatric cancer victims and their parents.
Erick was diagnosed with the rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma toward the end of second grade at Booker T. Washington Elementary School.
“He would complain about pain in his chest,” Evelyn Arnold said. “After a couple of missed diagnoses, we took him to the ER one day, and they thought he had pneumonia.”
In an X-ray, Erick’s entire right lung showed up white when it was supposed to be black, indicating a lack of oxygen, his mother said.
It was discovered that a “big mass” was pushing his heart all the way to the left. “That’s where his journey began,” Evelyn Arnold said.
Erick, who was treated at Portsmouth’s Naval Hospital, finished two years of chemotherapy in March. He’s been given the all clear.
“He still has many, many years of monitoring and monthly blood work,” his mom said.
Now a rising fourth-grader, Erick was intermittently homebound during his second-grade year. “Whenever he could go to school, he would,” Evelyn Arnold said. “When he couldn’t, a teacher would come to him.”
His mom says Erick was a trooper during the whole cancer experience. “He never complained, he never asked why me or why do I have to do this,” she said. “He was pretty resilient. … He liked staying in the hospital; it was a little mini vacation every time he had to stay.”
Members of 46 Mommas, which represents the average 46 families each weekday that learn their child has cancer, all have ties to children with cancer.
The team was created in 2010, setting a fundraising goal of $1 million, a target since exceeded by more than $80,000.
Evelyn Arnold has set herself a personal goal of $20,000. Her donation page can be found here.
“Since the day he was diagnosed, my faith was very strong,” Arnold said. “I just took it as an experience that I would live to use to help others.”