Signal Mountain youth seeking partners in cancer clip job

Signal Mountain youth seeking partners in cancer clip job

June 2nd, 2011 by Clint Cooper in Life Entertainment

Jack Skowronnek of Signal Mountain would like to see more Chattanooga noggins.

The 12-year-old has been inspired by the book "Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie," in which a middle school student gets his head shaved in solidarity with a younger sibling with cancer.

Jack will have his blond hair buzzed later this month to raise money for the Children's Hospital Foundation at Erlanger. Jack, a rising seventh-grader at Signal Mountain Middle/High School, said he wanted to let people know "it's OK to be bald."

The hair affair - officially called Jack's Chattanoggins - will play out on June 26 at Chattanooga Market in the First Tennessee Pavilion. In the meantime, he's hoping to convince scores of area residents that bald is beautiful.

People also willing to risk a short summer cut can register for the event and raise money for the organization by visiting www.JackShaves.org.

At last count, 20 people - including some members of the Chattanooga Football Club - had registered for the hair-raising fundraiser, according to Dawn Skowronnek, Jack's mother and the event organizer.

Jack first had his head shaved two years ago when the family lived in the Chicago area. Donations went to the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers.

He read the book on the recommendation of the librarian at his school, he said, and was inspired to shave his head as the character of the book did.

"I didn't know you could raise money [that way]," he said.

That year, his haircut netted $1,300.

Last year, after the family moved to Signal Mountain, more than $3,000 was raised for the charity with a public event - and 14 shaved heads - at Sweet Gipsy Bakeshop Cafe on Signal Mountain.

Mrs. Skowronnek's introduction to oncologist Dr. Eric Gratias at last year's event and the Children's Hospital Foundation's desire to do a similar fundraiser led to Jack being asked to be the face of the 2011 affair.

Betsy Chapin Taylor, president of the Children's Hospital Foundation, said it was the perfect pairing.

"As an organization devoted to advancing the well-being of children, Children's Hospital Foundation is delighted to collaborate with a bright young man who recognizes that, even as a child, he has the power to make a positive impact on the world around him through his advocacy and fundraising to help local kids with cancer."

With the elevated platform of Chattanooga Market, the 2011 goal for the fundraiser is $20,000, according to Mrs. Skowronnek.

"We need heads to shave and donations," she said. "We hope people will come out and enjoy the event."

She said she hopes area restaurants might be willing to host recruiting events or donate gift cards for participants and that corporate sponsors might come forward.

Mrs. Skowronnek said participants need not worry about becoming chrome domes. No razors are involved, she said.

"There's a little [hair] left," she said. "It's all done with clippers."