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Harbour Mille teen shaving head in grandpa’s memory and to raise cancer awareness

Zoe Baker is getting ready to say goodbye to her long locks. She will be shaving her head to help raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Zoe Baker is getting ready to say goodbye to her long locks. She will be shaving her head to help raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. - Colin Farrell

HARBOUR MILLE, N.L.— Zoe Baker is marking July 24, the birthday of her late grandfather Leslie Baker, in an interesting fashion. The 13-year-old from Harbour Mille has decide to shave her head in his memory.

Leslie Baker passed away on Sept. 30, 2016 — just 23 days after he was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.

“First when he got sick, when I wanted to shave my hair (the first time), was because I didn’t want him to feel left out and get depressed, so I was like I’ll do this to (help) him feel better, and then he passed so I decided to do it on his birthday in memory of him,” she explained.

Zoe was close to her grandfather and would see him every day. She even stayed with him for a period of time when her mother was ill.

“You could see his house from our living room (window),” added Zoe’s mother Kyla Baker.

Zoe is excited to be going through with getting her head shaved, adding that in the past when she decided to do it, family members did not agree with her decision, and therefore she didn’t follow through.

“No one is really going to make fun of me because everyone is close to me in my school, so I am pretty excited to get it shaved,” she said.

Her mother added that she supports her daughter’s decision, “but I don’t know, that’s a lot of hair to go…but in the end of the day, it’s just it will grow back.”

Cancer has played a role in the history of the family the pair explained, adding that both Zoe’s great-grandmothers on her mother’s side battled breast cancer.

As well her great-grandfather Edward Baker passed away with stomach and liver cancer.

Zoe said she has had a lot of support from friends, family and community members, having raised over $700 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“It was (only) after three days that we passed the goal,” said Zoe, who had set a goal of $500 for her fundraising efforts. “I was actually surprised at how much we raised in a short amount of time.”

In addition to the funds Zoe has collected for the Cancer Society, she is also donating her hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Program.

The program is a partnership between Pantene and the Canadian Cancer Society that provides free real-hair wigs for women with cancer.

The shave will take place at Adele’s Creations in St. Bernard’s on Tuesday, July 24.

"I am going to see if my best friend (Ivy Walters) wants to come because her Pop died of cancer too,” she said.

Zoe added that in her case, unlike with people who are battling cancer, “at least I know it is going to grow back, I don’t need to be scared.”

Zoe said her father, who is away working in Alberta, asked if she was crazy for wanting to shave her head.

“I said no, because I’ve been thinking about it for a while” she said, explaining that her father shaves his head regularly.

“So I’m like I’m going to match you now.”

To donate to Zoe’s fundraising efforts for the Canadian Cancer Society e-mail Kyla Baker at k.baker@eastlink.ca

colin.farrell@southerngazette.ca

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