Students Shave Heads to Battle Childhood Cancer

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WESTLAKE, Ohio--With the traditional clippers standing at the ready, more than 130 students and staff anxiously waited to get their perfectly coiffed locks shaved off.

St. Bernadette Parish in Westlake transformed into a hair salon of sorts, playing host to a signature head-shaving event for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer research.

This year's honoree, one of their own, St. Bernadette fourth grader, Michael Orbany.

Mary Sue Anders, a third grade teacher at St. Bernadette said, "This will impact so many other kids like Michael who need the funding for the research that will help them out."

A child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes worldwide, and one in five children diagnosed in the U.S. will not survive.

Michael Orbany has been battling a rare form of cancer, metastatic medulloblastoma, for the past four years.

He attended the event along with his mother.

"I'd like to thank you all for being believers in your children, because your children are my children and they have been my children and I thank you for letting them believe and letting them fill their heart with faith, hope and love," said Georgianne Orbany.

Things got a little emotional when Michael’s art teacher, Kristen Fox, sat in the barber's chair. But the tears quickly turned to cheers.

Fox said, "My hair grows back and a lot of kids just don't have that choice to lose their hair so at least I have the choice to make."

The fundraiser even took a competitive turn when school rivalries St. Ignatius and St. Edward took turns shaving each other’s heads.

The goal was to raise $50,000 and participants got late word that funds raised have already established a research grant for pediatric cancer at the Cleveland Clinic, helping patients just like Michael throughout Northeast Ohio.

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