Snoqualmie mom shaves head to fight cancer, help daughter

Every parent’s worst nightmare is hearing that something is wrong with their child.

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2008 6:40pm
  • News

To support her daughter Madeira

Every parent’s worst nightmare is hearing that something is wrong with their child.

It’s especially troubling when the child is very young and unable to understand what is happening to them.

For Darci and Trent Dawson and their newborn daughter Madeira, this nightmare came in the form of craniosynostosis, a condition in which some or all of the bones in the skull have prematurely fused, causing the still-growing brain to deform the child’s head.

“The only way they can correct that is with surgery,” said Darci Dawson.

Nine-month-old Madeira will get that surgery next month at Seattle Children’s Hospital. While it is a difficult procedure, it’s common to have a very high success rate. All signs point to Madeira making a full recovery and going on to live a completely normal life.

Through the whole ordeal, Dawson has drawn strength from the love and support of others. She feels fortunate that much is known about craniosynostosis and that Seattle Children’s Hospital is among the country’s leaders in dealing with the condition. Having benefited from the support structure that was able to help her daughter, Dawson wanted to give something back and help others in need.

“Just knowing what it’s like to have someone tell you there’s something wrong with your baby, and knowing that there’s other moms out there getting even worse news than I got, I just wanted to do something for somebody else,” Dawson said.

Spending a great deal of time at Seattle Children’s Hospital dealing with her daughter’s condition, Dawson had come to know many families whose lives had been changed by cancer and empathized with their situation.

“I feel bad for any other mom that has to hear that anything is wrong with their child,” Dawson said.

Dawson quickly decided to put her energy into helping fight children’s cancer. Through St. Baldrick’s Foundation, she found the perfect outlet.

St Baldrick’s sponsors head-shaving events to raise money to fight children’s cancer, and for Dawson, this immediately felt like the thing to do. Since her daughter would have her head shaved in preparation for her surgery, Dawson saw shaving her head as both a fundraising opportunity and a show of solidarity. If Madeira would have to go bald, mommy would, too.

Dawson set up a donation page at St. Baldrick’s Web site and e-mailed everyone in her address book asking for contributions. She set a goal of raising $1,000, but quickly surpassed that figure.

In just a few short weeks, Dawson’s gesture has brought in over $5,000 in donations. One family whose grandson had the same surgery Madeira is about to undergo pledged $1,000; another gave $500.

The big day came onTuesday, March 11. Nervous and uncertain, but buoyed by purpose, Dawson had her head shaved at Fado Irish Pub in downtown Seattle. Of the 19 shavees there, Dawson was the only female, which made for some odd looks and interesting comments, but also inspired the assembled crowd to pitch in some money on the spot.

Dawson also donated the bulk of her long hair to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for children with cancer.

Dawson was a bit surprised that the gesture touched such a nerve with people and brought in so much money. Despite the occasional odd look, she feels the statement has been well worth it.

“I needed to do something positive with my very anxious energy,” Dawson said. “It’s amazing how fast you can do something good.”

• To learn more about St. Baldrick’s or to donate to Dawson’s cause, visit www.stbaldricks.org and click on the “Find A Participant” to search for Darci Dawson.

More in News

President’s emergency declaration sparks immediate legal backlash

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his team will sue the White House if federal funds originally intended for Washington state are interrupted.

Bill targets sexual health curriculum in Washington schools

Senate Bill 5395 is co-sponsored by 17 Democratic representatives and introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline.
Study shows King County’s treatment funding is making progress

A document on the county’s .1 percent health sales tax was accepted Wednesday by the county council.

Captain Ron Mead, commander of the Washington State Patrol in King County, directs traffic on the top of Snoqualmie Pass. Photo courtesy of Trooper Rick Johnson.
Convoy leads Snoqualmie travelers to safety

Immense snowfall led to dicey conditions on the pass.

Bothell police recruits Amanda Rees and Dan Wiseman. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo
Police chiefs: More than a year to find, train new officers

HB1253 requires new hires complete basic training requirements within two months.

River stabilization project begins planning phase

The city of Snoqualmie has partnered with King County to install 400 feet of riverbank stabilization

Image by Google Maps.
Expanding culture, government

North Bend will do a cultural exchange with the town of Mestia in the European country of Georgia.

Children’s play area at Seadrunar. Photo by Lauren Davis via Facebook
Seedy side of Seadrunar: Drug rehab center accused of neglect, exploitation

Public records reveal that Seattle facility was accused of neglecting children and clients in its care.

Russell Wilson and Ciara spoke Friday at the Tukwila Library to Foster students and other attendees as their Why Not You Foundation joined forces with the King County Library System and JPMorgan Chase to launch the DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible campaign. Photo by Kayse Angel
Russell Wilson and Ciara launch DREAM BIG campaign

Partnership with King County libraries dovetails with scholarship program for local students.

Most Read