Hannibal area women lose locks as part of cancer fundraiser

Alyse Seckman-Watts laughs at friends and family members as she has her head shaved by Britney Buckwalter during the St. Baldrick’s Foundation during an event Saturday at Kerley’s Pub and Grill in Hannibal, Mo. (H-W Photo/Phil Carlson)
Posted: Mar. 23, 2013 5:57 pm Updated: Apr. 6, 2013 10:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Rebecca Adcox just donated her favorite accessory to children with cancer.

She traded her long brown locks for a bald scalp on Saturday afternoon during the St. Baldrick's Foundation fundraiser at Kerley's Pub and Grill in Hannibal. Adcox, three women and five men set out to raise $10,000 for children with cancer through the dramatic, physical statement. The hair Adcock shed will provide a wig for a child with cancer, but the message her own bare head shows offers an equally powerful message.

"You don't have to have your hair to be beautiful," Adcox said.

Adcox has joined more than 244,000 individuals who have chosen baldness to support cancer research. St. Baldrick's has hosted more than 5,500 head-shaving events in all 50 states and 30 countries and raised approximately $150 million. This funding provides research grants to doctors and scientists at more than 200 institutions, which allows them to pursue the new cures for cancer and make clinical trials more available to children.

Lesley Dehner, the event coordinator, began drumming up interest for St. Baldrick's in Hannibal after she shaved the head of a participant at an event in St. Louis. Since then, Dehner, who works at the Powder Room in downtown Hannibal, has sought to bring a similar message to the Tri-state area.

"It's more emotional for them," Dehner said. "For me it's fun. I really enjoyed doing it.

Adcox decided to shave her head to match her sister's new look. After watching her sister lose her locks to cancer and chemotherapy, she wanted to spread a message of hope and support. Her friends Alyse Seckman-Watts and Heather Genenbacher supported her in the endeavor just as readily as Adcox had supported her sister.

The three friends plan to wear their baldness proudly. While many have asked if they'll opt for wigs, they don't plan to.

"I'm going to walk around, and I'm going to go completely bald on this," Adcox said. "This is a choice I've made. I specifically want people to know why."

The women plan to adapt to their new accessories. St. Baldrick's provides buttons for the participants that say "Ask me why I'm bald?"

Genenbacher has purchased large earrings. Adcox will accessorize with headbands and large flowers. Neither has any desire to hide the message they've chosen to spread.

"The wig defeats the purpose," Genenbacher said. "The whole point of the event is to be there to go bare."


Editor's Note: A photo that appeared with this story originally misidentified Alyse Seckman-Watts. Seckman-Watts got her hair cut at Saturday's event. Britney Buckwalter was the stylist who cut Seckman-Watts hair.