Although the official numbers are not yet ready, Jack's Chattanoggins raised at least $35,000 for the Children's Hospital at Erlanger during this year's head-shaving event.
Days later, Jack Skowronnek's mother, Dawn Skowronnek, had surgery to remove skin cancer from her face.
“I was putting off my cancer surgery so I could plan the event to benefit the kids going through it,” she said. “There is definitely irony there.”
Skowronnek said she was originally diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a form of treatable skin cancer, when she was 40. She was quickly treated but told the cancer would most likely return. And now, four years later, it did.
“I don't think that what has happened to me has even scraped the surface of what these kids go through,” she said. “But, emotionally for me, it is hard, and you can't deny yourself those emotions.”
Because of the Chattanoggins yearly head-shaving event, Skowronnek postponed her surgery so she could see to its success. At this year's event, more than 100 “shavees” were recruited—more than double the number from last year—including 25 walk-ups the day of the shavings.
The total amount of hair shaved came to more than 40 gallons.
Now that the event is over, Skowronnek is taking time to relax before beginning to plan next year's event, and she said that she is just grateful her children have had the opportunity to learn to make a difference.
“People have seen Jack in public and said, 'Hey, aren't you the Jack who shaves his head?,' and it is just very unique in that it was kid-created, and we are honored to do it,” she said. “I'm just trying to raise some good kids who know they can help others.”
Since the event's successful ending, the cancer has been removed, and the stitches from the surgery are out.
However, it will take almost a year to be sure everything has healed properly, Skowronnek said. Because of the location of the cancer, a plastic surgeon had to reconstruct and close the hole where skin was removed.
“It is just a big relief to have those stitches out,” she said.