8-year-old to raise $10K

Published 1:09 am Thursday, January 14, 2016

Noah Leonard and his friend Dave Palmer, who will shave his head if Leonard raises $10K for Cancer Freeze.

Noah Leonard and his friend Dave Palmer, who will shave his head if Leonard raises $10K for Cancer Freeze.

Eight-year-old Noah Leonard wants to see his friend Dave Palmer have his head shaved.

And he wants it so badly, he’s set out to raise $10,000 for Cancer Freeze to make it happen.

Cancer Freeze, held each February in Florala, raises money for cancer victims. It began with skiing in the icy waters of Lake Jackson, and has grown to include year-round fundraising, including a 5K, beauty pageant, pancake breakfast, chili cookoff, walkathon, and many other activities.

Dave Palmer, who owns a T-shirt printing business and Florida Farmers Market in Paxton, also serves as emcee for the annual Cancer Freeze. At the 2015 event, Palmer agreed to have his head shaved on the spot if $10,000 were raised for Cancer Freeze.

The challenge wasn’t met, but more than $1,800 was raised in only 15 minutes. Noah Leonard helped raise it. And he’s been thinking about seeing his friend “Mr. Dave” have his head shaved ever since.

“Noah cleaned out my wallet and several other people’s,” said his mom, Heather Jackson Leonard.

Noah happened to be on hand to be recognized for having raised the most money, $436, at a Cancer Freeze walkathon at W.S. Harlan School.

“Noah was so excited about it, we started coming up with ideas for 2016,” Heather said. “With a whole year to plan in advance, we thought we could really raise enough to get Dave’s head shaved.”

Noah, who knows Palmer from both the baseball field and from Florala First Presbyterian Church, said one of the reasons he thought it would be funny to see Mr. Dave shave his head is that his hair is little bit long. Noah also has grown his hair longer in anticipation of shaving his head along with Dave’s when he hits his $10,000 goal.

Asked if he knows how much $10,000 is, he said, “Well, I think it’s a lot more than the PowerBall lotto is right now.”

The third grader has jars around town to collect donations. He also is selling candy bars and spring bulbs, and is asking anyone who makes a Cancer Freeze donation to designate “Shave Dave” in the “for” line of his or her check.

The staff at Florida Farmers Market have agreed that on Fri., Jan. 15, they will donate all of their tips to the “Shave Dave” fund in hopes that their boss will return to work hairless following the 2016 Cancer Freeze event.

Heather, who is a physical therapist, is going to set up a massage tent at Cancer Freeze, with all of the money donated until noon going toward the $10,000 goal.

The fundraiser is also personal, because a number of family members have had cancer, Heather said.

“My grandfather, ‘Pep Jackson,’ passed away at 64 before Noah was born. Noah knows all about him because we always talked about Pop Pep,” she said, adding that her grandfather died within three months of his diagnosis.

“We are interested in anything we can do to battle and prevent cancer,” Heather said.

So Noah is hard at work raising money. He said his favorite sport is football, and his favorite subject is math. He loves to hunt deer, and also plays basketball.

He has two sisters, Julia, 4, and Cara, 2, to whom he refers as “the most annoying people in the world.”

He is also the son of Jason Leonard, and the grandson of Sara and John Gardner, Michael Leonard and Ann Marie Miro; Kathy Jackson, and Marty and Kaylyn Byrd.

Tax deductible donations marked “Shave Dave” can be mailed to Cancer Freeze at P.O. Box 92, Florala, AL 36442 or donated via the PayPal link on cancerfreeze.org and be received prior to the Feb. 6 event to count toward the $10,000 goal.