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posted: 3/10/2013 6:13 PM

Heads shaved as Carol Stream school honors student's cancer fight

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  • Gina Barzso of Bartlett shaves the head and bread of her husband Dan Barzso during the St. Baldrick's Day shaving event at Evergreen Elementary School in honor of third grader Jack O'Donoghue, who's cancer is now in remission. This is Barzso's first time volunteering to shave heads for a St. Baldrick's Day event.

       Gina Barzso of Bartlett shaves the head and bread of her husband Dan Barzso during the St. Baldrick's Day shaving event at Evergreen Elementary School in honor of third grader Jack O'Donoghue, who's cancer is now in remission. This is Barzso's first time volunteering to shave heads for a St. Baldrick's Day event.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Gina Barzso of Bartlett shaves the head of Brandon Burck of Bartlett during the St. Baldrick's Day head shaving event at Evergreen Elementary School in honor of third grader Jack O'Donoghue, who's cancer is now in remission.

       Gina Barzso of Bartlett shaves the head of Brandon Burck of Bartlett during the St. Baldrick's Day head shaving event at Evergreen Elementary School in honor of third grader Jack O'Donoghue, who's cancer is now in remission.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Gina Barzso of Bartlett shaves the head of Enzo Torres, 9 of Aurora during the St. Baldrick's Day head shaving event at Evergreen Elementary School in honor of third grader Jack O'Donoghue, who's cancer is now in remission.

       Gina Barzso of Bartlett shaves the head of Enzo Torres, 9 of Aurora during the St. Baldrick's Day head shaving event at Evergreen Elementary School in honor of third grader Jack O'Donoghue, who's cancer is now in remission.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Ian Wallace of St. Charles volunteers to play his bagpipes during the St. Baldrick's Day head shaving event at Evergreen Elementary School in honor of third grader Jack O'Donoghue, who's cancer is now in remission.

       Ian Wallace of St. Charles volunteers to play his bagpipes during the St. Baldrick's Day head shaving event at Evergreen Elementary School in honor of third grader Jack O'Donoghue, who's cancer is now in remission.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

For the second straight year, dozens of people gathered inside Evergreen Elementary School in Carol Stream to raise money for the fight against pediatric cancer.

This year's event happened Sunday, and the inspiration once again was Evergreen student Jack O'Donoghue, who is in remission after spending much of last year battling cancer.

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Roughly 100 people had their heads shaved to raise money for St. Baldrick's Foundation, an organization dedicated to cancer research.

"It was freezing," Dan Barzso of Bartlett said about how it felt to be shorn nearly bald. It wasn't just the hair on his head that he lost; Barzso arrived at the school with a full beard that hung down low enough to touch his chest. That was removed, also.

"She didn't recognize me at first," Barzso said, gesturing toward his 16-month-old daughter.

The St. Baldrick's website reported that as of late Sunday afternoon, the Evergreen event had raised slightly more than the stated fundraising goal of $5,000. Last year's event was a success as well, raising roughly $14,000, said Orla Calabrese, a Carol Stream resident and one of the organizers of Sunday's event.

"This community is pretty close knit and supportive," said Calabrese, whose son, Philip, is in Jack's third-grade class at Evergreen. "Jack is doing great, but everyone recognizes there's still a need out there."

Early last year, Jack was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma, a non-Hodgkin's cancer of the lymphatic system. He went through a round of chemotherapy treatments shortly before last year's St. Baldrick's fundraiser at the school.

He's in remission now, and he attended Sunday's event, smiling and talking with friends.

"So far, his tests look wonderful," said Dana O'Donoghue, Jack's mother. "We're so grateful for how well he's doing and how much support we've received from the community."

For more on the St. Baldrick's Foundation and the work it does, go to stbaldricks.org.

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