Skowronnek seeks 'Chattanoggins' to raise funds for kids with cancer

Skowronnek seeks 'Chattanoggins' to raise funds for kids with cancer

Recruiting event at Buffalo Wild Wings in Hixson Wednesday, May 25

May 25th, 2011 by Emily Crisman in Community Signal Mountain

Signal Mountain resident Jack Skowronnek, 12, is looking for volunteers willing to shave their heads to raise funds for pediatric cancer treatment at Children's Hospital. He will be at a recruiting event tonight at Buffalo Wild Wings downtown from 6 to 8 p.m. His Jack's Chattanoggins head-shaving event will be at the Chattanooga Market Sunday, June 26 beginning at 11 a.m. Photo by Emily Crisman

Signal Mountain resident Jack Skowronnek, 12, is looking...

Signal Mountain resident Jack Skowronnek, 12, is busy convincing locals to aid in his fundraising effort for pediatric cancer by shaving their heads. Volunteers find sponsors and agree to go under the razor blade together at Jack's Chattanoggins, an event to be held at the Chattanooga Market Sunday, June 26 beginning at 11 a.m.

Any business or organization interested in hosting an event or becoming involved should contact Dawn Skowronnek at 994-7680.

He is hosting several recruiting events around town to boost awareness, participation and therefore fundraising. Jack will be at Buffalo Wild Wings in Hixson to give out information and register participants tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. Customers can also request 10 percent of their bill tonight be donated to Jack's Chattanoggins.

Chattanoggins is a larger-scale operation than Skowronnek's previous efforts, in which he raised more than $1,300 the first year on his own in sponsorship funds and $3,200 the next with the help of 13 friends and neighbors.

"It struck me as admirable for such a young boy to want to do something so big that impacts so many people like cancer [does,]" said Chattanooga Market general manager Paul Smith, who has lost several vendors to cancer just in the past few years. "I felt the event needed a larger audience, and I thought this would be a way to embrace helping others who are suffering from cancer."

When Jack first had the idea to shave his head at age 10, he had never actually met a child with cancer, but he wanted to show kids with cancer it's OK to be bald after being inspired by the book "Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie." His mother, Dawn Skowronnek, then told him about the St. Baldrick's Foundation, an organization which raises money for childhood cancer through people who volunteer to shave their heads, many of whom are firefighters.

In the course of planning this year's event, Jack has developed a deeper connection to the cause through kids with cancer he has come into contact with.

"It's a little scary," said Jack, recalling a recent tour through the oncology unit at Children's Hopital. "I heard a little boy screaming and crying because they were taking marrow out of his bones. I've read about this, but I haven't seen it, and that was the worst scream I've ever heard."

Jack saw an article on Signal Mountain resident Peyton Ogle, 6, who is currently in remission after suffering from lymphoblastic leukemia. Skowronnek contacted the family, and Peyton's parents started a team to participate in the event.

Jack's goal this year is to find 50 people to volunteer to shave their heads at Chattanoggins. Anyone can register to participate, and all proceeds from the event will go to Children's Hospital to fund pediatric cancer treatment. Register here by clicking on the "Register as a Shavee" link.

Donations will also be accepted on the day of the Jack's Chattanoggins event and at the recruiting events.