Bears’ Garza Shaves Head for Highwood Child

Highwood Great Pumpkin Festival falls short of record but wins big fighting childhood cancer.

Chicago Bears' center Roberto Garza had his head shaved Thursday in honor of Highwood's Sam Sommer. One of St. Baldrick Foundation's official kids, Sam is in remission from leukemia.
Chicago Bears' center Roberto Garza had his head shaved Thursday in honor of Highwood's Sam Sommer. One of St. Baldrick Foundation's official kids, Sam is in remission from leukemia.

Highwood’s fourth annual Great Pumpkin Festival fell short of setting a record for the most people carving pumpkins at once today but came up big fighting childhood cancer thanks in part to Chicago Bears’ center Roberto Garza.

Garza teamed up with St. Baldrick’s Foundation to have his head shaved right after the attempt to set the record fell short to help raise awareness of childhood cancer in honor of Sam Sommer, 7, of Highwood. Sam was diagnosed with leukemia over a year ago and is now in remission, according to his father, Michael Sommer.

St. Baldrick’s is the largest source of funding for research for childhood cancer outside of the United States government, according to local organization representative Heather Kash. “We are known for our head shaving events,” she said.

Sam is an official St. Baldrick’s child and money is raised in his honor including everything collected as a result of Garza’s participation. “Sam is one of our honored kids,” Kash said. St. Baldrick’s has raised more than $33 million this year.

Michael Sommer was one of two people who shaved Garza’s head. For him the cause has become personal not only because of his son but because of both the prevalence of childhood cancer and the lack of funding to help fight it.

“Childhood cancer is very underfunded,” Sommer said. “Until you are into it yourself you don’t realize how many children have it.”

Just before Michael Sommer began shaving Garza’s head, he got serious about the moment. “Keep Superman Sam (Sommer) in your prayers and go Bears,” Garza said.

The festival continues through Sunday with an attempt Friday to set a record for the most illuminated Jack O'Lanterns at one time. There will also be  5K race at 9 a.m. Sunday to honor Sam Sommer.

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ray October 19, 2013 at 03:02 PM
I fail to see how shaving your head accomplishes anything but baldness. Do you mean donors are so callous that you have to do stupid tricks to make them part with their money?
Great Googly Moogly October 20, 2013 at 04:44 AM
Ray: in response to your comment above. the reason people shave their heads is twofold. 1-shaving ones head promotes solidarity with people, especially children, who have lost their hair due to cancer. by shaving my head to show empathy with children who are fighting cancer i am letting them know that i am with them. i "feel" for their plight. I am willing to show empathy towards them. in this way these children may feel a little less awkward. 2-there are organizations that collect the hair, usually a ponytail of 10-12 inches, and are able to manufacture fine hairpieces not only for children who lose their hair to cancer but also for children who lose their hair to Alapacia and other diseases. Maybe it would be a good idea to think before you write your callous remarks.
John Taylor October 20, 2013 at 07:59 AM
Always nice to see someone acknoledge the children who are victims of cancer and other diseases.
Cindy Halpern October 20, 2013 at 09:57 AM
My friend was dying of breast cancer. But she asked people not to shave hair, but to have it cut to donate to locks of love. It makes more sense to help others like that.
Phil Collins October 20, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Da Bears !


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