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March 12, 2008 > Help a child on St. Baldrick's Day

Help a child on St. Baldrick's Day

Submitted By Matthew Shaffer
Photos By courtesy of Matthew Shaffer

One year ago, Matthew Shaffer was offered an assignment his employer, Hayward Unified School District (HUSD), to work part time as a home instructor to a young woman named Brittney who was undergoing chemotherapy and was unable to attend regular school classes. During the past year, Shaffer has gotten to know her and her family well. This remarkable young woman has done much to give silver linings to dark clouds of her own and others.

Brittney's cancer is a rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer called Sertoli Leidig. Brittney is currently "maintaining" and is waiting for some significant test results that will, hopefully allow her to regain some semblance of normalcy in her life. Because of her treatment regime which has included two major surgeries and two stem cell transplants, Brittney's immune system has been compromised and she is restricted from public places or group functions. Dietary limitations have been draconian.

Brittney's response to her illness has been nothing short of heroic. She has stayed positive throughout and always sought to help and support and cheer up other children. At every opportunity, Brittney returns to the floor of Children's Hospital to visit nurses and patients, give them her patented smile, hug and words of encouragement.

Brittney recently told Shaffer about an organization called St. Baldrick's, where folks who know children with cancer, and some who do not, seek sponsorship from friends and family in the form of donations to St. Baldrick's in return for shaving their heads in solidarity with patients like Brittney. Shaffer will be participating by having his head shaved on St. Patrick's Day, Tuesday, March 18, to raise awareness and help support kids like Brittney.

Shaffer asks that the community support his effort and log on www.stbaldricks.org to make a pledge. Click on the "Donate Now" button and type in Matthew Shaffer to find him on the list.

To get more information about St. Baldrick's Day, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org/about_us/index.html or call (888) 899-BALD.

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