March 14, 2013 -- By Bill Johnson-Miles, MCSC Corporate Communications
The words “you are so beautiful” were spoken many times to Sharon Crusenberry after she volunteered to have her head shaved March 10 at Paddy's Steakhouse and Pub in Stafford, Va. Crusenberry, who supports the Medium/Heavy Tactical Vehicles program under Program Executive Officer Land Systems, participated in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event to help fight childhood cancer.
According their website, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds the most promising research to help find cures for children with cancer. More than 60 people shaved their heads during the Stafford event, raising more than $46,000 for the cause. As of March 11, Crusenberry’s portion of that was $3,400, which is currently the second largest amount raised at Paddy’s. Many of her coworkers and acquisition teammates donated to her cause.
“I really appreciate the support, especially from the folks at work,” Crusenberry said. “Between Marine Corps Systems Command and PEO LS, 38 people supported me monetarily and six were there to watch me go bald. There were also about 10 of my friends and co-workers from my contractor days and 11 family members there.”
Crusenberry is one of more than 5,700 women nationwide who have shaved their heads for St. Baldrick’s this year, and she said she wasn’t apprehensive at all leading up to the event.
“It is only hair, and I have the choice to go bald,” she said. “The kids with cancer don’t.”
On her St. Baldrick’s web page Crusenberry chose to honor a young cancer survivor who lives at Quantico.
“Turns out she is the daughter of a Marine serving in Afghanistan,” Crusenberry said. “How hard it must be for him to be away from his daughter. She was diagnosed in 2004 at about 3 or 4 years old. Today she is 12 and in remission.”
When Crusenberry was a young mother, her daughter’s 2-year-old playmate, Ryan, was diagnosed with leukemia.
“I watched as this precious baby boy fought his way through chemotherapy,” she said. “It was heart wrenching. Now, Ryan is 32 years old and has recently become engaged. What more could a parent want for their child but health and happiness?”
Two years ago her friend, Jason, participated in the annual fundraising event as a "shavee."
“At the event I met some of the children with cancer, and my heart broke again,” Crusenberry said. “So I decided 2013 would be my year, and that I would let my hair grow so I could give back twice, for Locks of Love and St. Baldrick's. In October 2011, Jason was diagnosed with a brain tumor and is battling this horrific disease today. No one is safe from getting cancer. Anyone who thinks that their child cannot get cancer now or as an adult is sadly mistaken. I want a cure now, before it strikes more loved ones.”
Those loved ones include her three “grandchillrins,” as she calls them. She watched them from her chair while her hair stylist Jen Damon of Fredericksburg’s Vanity Salon ran the clippers across her scalp.
“I’m looking at the reason I’m doing this,” she said.