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Holley student shaves head to support friend battling leukemia

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 April 2020 at 9:38 pm

Callie Updike raises nearly $1,400 for childhood cancer research

Provided photos: Callie Updike of Holley reacts after her head was shaved on Saturday in a fundraiser for childhood cancer research. Callie, 15, did the fundraiser for her Holley classmate Evan Valentine, who is currently being treated for leukemia.

HOLLEY – Callie Updike, one of the student leaders at Holley Junior-Senior High School, has a flair for style, including with her hair. She gives her hair a touch of purple, pink or some other color.

Callie, 15, is a junior at Holley. One of her long-time classmates, Evan Valentine, is currently in remission from leukemia for the second time. Callie last month announced she would shave her head on April 11 to raise money for childhood cancer.

Callie Updike

She picked April 11 in honor of my grandmother’s 73rd birthday. Her grandmother passed away to cancer in 2014.

Callie was hoping Evan could personally shave her head this past Saturday. He has been at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester and is currently home in remission, waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Callie instead went with a virtual event with Evan.

She set a $1,000 fundraising goal and passed that with donations averaging about $20. It’s at $1,368 currently. (Click here to contribute.)

Callie said she decided to shave off her hair when Evan lost his thick head of curls. She talked with Evan about her plan, and he suggested St. Baldrick’s, an organization created for the direct purpose of aiding in childhood cancer research.

“Seeing the hurt that Evan and his family had endured as well as the constant love and support that our community provided, I felt compelled to do what I could to help,” Callie said in an email.

Evan was first diagnosed in Oct. 19, 2018. He completed four rounds of chemotherapy and returned to school on April 22, 2019. In January, he received the news the leukemia had returned.

Callie thanked the donors for contributing to the fundraising effort.

“It’s a modest number, just over a grand, but knowing that we could reach so many community members and gather together in such a trying time brings me immeasurable joy,” she said.

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