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Oklahoma City St. Baldrick's hair-razing effort raises funds to fight cancer

On Sunday, several Oklahoma residents will shave their heads as part of the annual St. Baldrick's Oklahoma City celebration. The event is to raise research dollars and awareness for childhood cancers.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: March 24, 2013 at 8:00 am •  Published: March 24, 2013

In the past two weeks, Dr. Rene McNall-Knapp has seen six children die from cancer.

On average, McNall-Knapp sees about 20 pediatric cancer patients die each year.

But to have a couple of weeks like this makes McNall-Knapp even more frustrated that the federal government continues to cut the amount of research dollars that it invests in understanding childhood cancers.

“In the beginning, we were only getting 4 percent of National Cancer Institute funding going to pediatric cancer anyhow,” she said. “It's pathetically underfunded.”

McNall-Knapp, a pediatric cancer specialist at OU Children's Physicians, is a member of “10 Strong,” a team of 10 mothers who are raising awareness about the lack of money around pediatric cancer research.

On Sunday, she and her teammates will be among several Oklahoma residents who will shave their heads as part of the annual St. Baldrick's Oklahoma City fundraiser.

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a childhood cancer charity that has financed more than $103 million in grants, including grants in Oklahoma. This is more money than any other organization, except the U.S. government.

McNall-Knapp is shaving her head as a mother and as a doctor.

She adopted her 12-year-old son Jordan after he was placed in foster care while he had cancer. He was 3. Jordan had eye cancer, or retinoblastoma, and lost his left eye because of the cancer. He has been off therapy for eight years.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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If you go

The St. Baldrick's Oklahoma City event is at VZD's Restaurant and Club, 4200 N Western Ave., from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday and will include live entertainment and food trucks.

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