Floridians ‘shave lids’ for cancer awareness

Published 12:02 am Saturday, February 4, 2012


Members of the Walton County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office proved Thursday that generosity doesn’t stop at the state line when four employees shaved their heads to raise more than $2,300 for this year’s Cancer Freeze event, set for today in Florala.

WCSO members participated in shaving the heads of Communications Officer Maggie Heelan, who donated her long blonde hair to Locks of Love; Lt. Keith Chamblee and Deputy Justin Stevens. Major Bill Chapman shaved his mustache.

Funds raised through today’s Cancer Freeze, which begins at 10 a.m. with a 5K run, will benefit two Covington County residents and a Defuniak Springs, Fla., man – 2-year-old Cooper Sasser of Andalusia, who has leukemia; 20-year-old Ayla Powers of Opp, who has ovarian cancer; and 47-year-old Michael Harrison, a father of five who has colon cancer.

Event organizer Caleb Davidson is a WCSO deputy, and once fellow employees heard of his efforts to help the families, they decided to participate.

“The support everyone has given us has been amazing,” Davidson said. “We are so blessed.”

Both Sasser and Powers were chosen for the benefit after being featured in The Star-News. The community has stepped up by helping both families in numerous benefits. Most recently, Cooper received nearly 800 “birthday wishes,” many filled with monetary gifts, after family members organized a birthday card drive since the boy couldn’t have a party because of his treatment regimen. When Powers’ family announced the young woman’s need for blood, scores of blood drives were held to help in her fight.

Now, residents can help the families by attending this year’s Cancer Freeze event, where for a $20 donation, one can water ski, wakeboard, kneeboard or tube in the Florala’s Lake Jackson.

“I wish I could put into words just how blessed and humbled I am that you guys chose to help my family,” said Sasser’s mother, Christy. “I think you all are some of the greatest people I know, and we haven’t even officially met.

“The people that have shaved and who are going to shave their heads have just left me speechless,” she said. “I know my family will be forever changed by this whole experience, and I can’t thank God enough for letting such wonderful people cross our path.”

Other local residents may soon join the “shaved lid” WCSO ranks. More than 15 others have pledged to shave their heads in support of the families if more than $3,000 in “shave your lid for a kid” donations is raised. Boxes will be on hand today for the final push in fundraising.

There is a chili cook-off set for 11 a.m., and participants are asked, “to just show up” with their pots of chili. Water events begin at noon, and there are a multitude of side activities planned throughout the day.