Mothers all over the country are joining the battle against cancer with a special foundation known for giving them hope.
Fredonia resident Nicole McPherson and the other members of 46 Mommas partnered with the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which is a foundation where every cent donated goes to help research childhood cancers.
While that was part of what attracted McPherson to join the group, another reason is she was looking for a place to go to talk to people who understood what she was going through.
Nicole McPherson and her 2-year-old daughter Ella.
"I was using a lot of energy looking into the lack of funding for childhood cancer and I found these fantastic, strong women. I wanted to be part of what they were doing. They are doing these fantastic things everywhere."
St. Baldrick's Foundation has been busy the last five years helping families with children who are diagnosed with cancer. Since childhood cancer represents only 4 percent of cancer research, there is not a lot known about these cancers. St. Baldrick's Foundation is hoping to change that.
McPherson's 2-year-old daughter Eleanor was diagnosed with high-risk infant leukemia at just 6 months old. She is currently undergoing treatment, which will end in September. Eleanor "Ella" loves to sing and dance and get hugs from her mommy and daddy.
"I am doing this for my daughter," McPherson said. "There is not a lot of research out there for these little ones; I got mad and wanted to help any way I could."
"St. Baldrick's is fantastic because they are doing this all for just the kids," she continued. "They need this big time, so everything I raise goes to the kids."
McPherson has a 7-year-old son who has been an anchor for his little sister.
"They are the light of each other's lives," she said. "They love each other."
The news of Eleanor's cancer came on her brother's first day of kindergarten.
"I was in the hospital for six weeks," McPherson said.
The 46 Mommas are joined by a common thread - they all have ties to a child with cancer. This year, the team's efforts have reached far and wide as mothers of all ages from nearly 20 states and Canada have volunteered to trek to Massachusetts and shave their heads to show that childhood cancer knows no borders.
"The cure rate for babies is different. They have a 40 to 60 percent cure rate," McPherson said. "Their relapse rate is extremely high, too. I hope we can get through this treatment and walk away never having to look back after two years."
The St. Baldrick's Foundation, a volunteer-driven and donor-centered charity, is celebrating this year's Momma event "Shave for the Brave" in Boston, Mass., at The Prudential Center Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Afterward, a Momma's dinner will be offered.
"I got to know 12 women who befriended me on Facebook," McPherson said, adding there are 27 new moms this year. "We are all so excited to meet each other."
"We have other interests; we share the same interest in music," she continued. "We are going to get covered in gold glitter for the event. Gold is the color for childhood cancer awareness."
The team, representing the reality that on average 46 families each weekday receive the news that their child has cancer, is on a mission to raise awareness and funds for lifesaving childhood cancer research. The 46 Mommas team was created in 2010 with a goal of raising $1 million for pediatric cancer research, and is proud to have exceeded that goal, having raised more than $1.4 million to date.
"This has just begun for me," she said. "I won't stop after the head shaving, and I won't stop raising money and volunteering."
"I have had some great support from Fredonia Elementary School," McPherson continued. "We are on a roll."
McPherson heard these events can be very emotional.
"There is a lot of hugging, shouting, and crying," she said. "They have a whole schedule for us. The moms get together, shave and bond for a whole weekend."
The whole McPherson family will be heading to Boston, which they have to pay for themselves.
"I hope to have Ella on my lap while my head is being shaved," Nicole said. "We heard some celebrities will be shaving our heads."
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