Cosmetologist will ‘Brave the Shave’ for cancer research
Local cosmetologist Kellie Flanery has taken up the cause of raising money for childhood cancer research and at the end of the summer -- she could be bald.
Flanery, owner of Retro LUX Hair Salon & Boutique in Panora, has committed to shaving her head if she raises her goal of $10,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and more importantly support her 13-year-old client Emma Reinhart.
Reinhart, daughter of Steph and Troy Reinhart of Panora, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on November 10, 2016. Through chemotherapy treatments, Reinhart has lost her hair not only once, but twice.
Flanery has been there for her in what Reinhart’s mom describes as “emotional experiences” in her young daughter’s life.
“I don’t know what you expect, you expect to put on a wig and it fits,” Steph Reinhart said.
Both mother and daughter say they are thankful to have Flanery during those difficult hair days.
“We were hosting Thanksgiving and Kellie opened up her shop that morning and fixed her up,” Steph Reinhart said, recalling one wig crisis for Emma.
St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity that funds more in childhood cancer research than any other organization in the country. The National Institute of Cancer, the budget from the government, dedicates a slim four percent of their budget to childhood cancer, Steph Reinhart said.
“In the last 20 years, only three drugs have been formulated specifically to treat children with cancer, which means kids are using the same drugs adults are using,” said Reinhart, who works as a nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.
Emma Reinhart got septic, a life-threatening illness due to complications of an infection, in January and was very sick. At the time, Steph Reinhart joined a mom’s group and felt the frustration from others because there were no drugs to help their children.
“I knew we needed to do more,” she said. “I just couldn’t shake that and get it out of my mind.”
She was driven to find ways to help.
“I think when your kid gets sick you have this innate need and want to do something, because there’s nothing you can do, there’s nothing you can do to change things,” she said.
There are kids that are diagnosed today and their parents are told to go home and love them because there is no treatment, Steph Reinhart said, tears filling her eyes.
“We talk all the time that we are lucky Emma has this kind of cancer because we have never been told that,” she said. “I can’t imagine being a parent in that position, it’s unfair, all this money this country spends and we can’t fund cancer research.”
As of this week, Emma Reinhart has had 12 lumbars, 68 doses of chemotherapy, 83 doses of oral chemotherapy, 10 different chemotherapy medications, and seven blood transfusions.
The Reinharts found St. Baldrick’s Foundation which raises funds specifically for childhood cancer research. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s events have helped raise $200 million for lifesaving childhood research through their ‘Shave for a Cause’ events.
The Reinharts have created Emmastrong Rocks the Bald for St. Baldrick’s, an event to be held during Panorama Days on the town square in Panora on Saturday, August 5 at 5:15 p.m. The Reinhart family will all be shaving their heads and hope others will join them.
“Whether you decide to shave your head, or donate, we hope you’ll be part of the excitement,” Steph Reinhart said.
If Flanery reaches her fundraising goal of $10,000 she will allow Emma Reinhart to shave her beautiful head of hair in August.
“When I first found out I was going to have to shave Emma’s head, I thought maybe I should shave mine,” Flanery said. “I didn’t think I could do it.”
But watching Emma, who is Flanery’s first client to lose her hair through cancer treatment, and her family in the fight against the disease, Flanery said she felt a tug to help. Her daughter, Jasmarie, is a classmate of Emma’s, so it touches close to home, too.
“I’m hoping that I can be a role model, for other hairdressers and for my children,” Flanery said. “I want them to see how good it is to help others.”
There are several ways to donate. The Panorama high school art department has decorated donation jars and placed them in local businesses. Donations can be dropped off at Guthrie County State Bank. They can also be made by visiting this link: https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/927729/2017.
“If just 1,000 people donate $10 we will reach our goal,” Steph Reinhart said.