Going, going gone

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 30, 2010

“I know you all think I’m crazy, but when you see someone with cancer who has no hair, I hope this makes you realize that hair means nothing. It’s the fight and what someone has to do to live that’s important,” said Khristal “Kris” Bulger as the clippers made the final pass over her head, securing a more than $1,000 contribution for this year’s Cancer Freeze recipient Caitlin “Caitie” Rhodes.

Rhodes, 17, is battling glioma, a type of cancer that begins in the brain or spine. In Rhodes’ case, doctors located an inoperable tumor at the base of her brain in 2006.

Bulger, an employee at Vector Aerospace, read about Rhodes’ plight and issued a challenge to her fellow employees: raise $1,000 for the fundraiser and she would shave her head.

Friday, Bulger made good on her promise after Vector officials matched the first $500 the group raised, and money continues to come in.

“It’s only hair,” the Opp resident said. “This is a great fundraiser, and when I read about what Caitie was going through, I knew we had to do something. Every one of us knows someone that has been touched by cancer. We know how difficult it can be.

“And to know that a child is the one that has cancer – well, I just think that no child should have to face that disease,” she said. “It’s a bad disease. It picks and chooses who it affects. It could very easily have been me or you or someone we love.”

Fellow employee Melissa Taunton said Bulger has been “tireless” in her fundraising efforts.

“She even went to local businesses and got items for a great gift basket for Caitie and the plan is to make a money tree and put the basket under it,” Taunton said. “We all think Kris has done a great job, going above and beyond, because she feels so strongly that we should help this little girl.”

Both said employees and management have given generously and even had a little fun doing it.

Bulger said her boss, Allen Fletcher, danced to Michael Jackson music when the first $150 was raised and fellow employee Chad Bass shaved his legs when the next $100 was raised.

But don’t expect to see Bulger around town sporting a “chrome dome.”

“I call this my back-up plan, Sugar,” she said, holding up a brunette wig. “One day I might be blonde, the next day a redhead. I can be whatever I want to be. It’s not that I care about being bald. I just don’t want to be bald all the time. Besides you don’t realize how cold it is until you don’t have any hair on your head.”

For those wishing to do their part to raise money for Caitlin Rhodes and her family, the 2010 Cancer Freeze will be held Sat., Feb. 6, at noon on Florala’s Lake Jackson. All proceeds raised will be donated to the family.

A minimum donation of $20 will buy one the opportunity to ski, tube, wakeboard or kneeboard during the vent – or the opportunity to watch from the lakeshore if one desires, said event organizer Caleb Davidson.

Hot refreshments in the form of chili, coffee and more will be available for donations.  There will also be raffle items that include autographed photos of George Jones, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill as well as many other items, he said.

To register for this year’s Cancer Freeze event or to make a donation, visit cancerfreeze.net or contact Caleb Davidson at 850-978-3726.