They definitely went through with it and now Roberta and Kasha Butterfield refer to themselves as the Butterfield Baldies.
Western Nevada College business instructor Roberta Butterfield and her teenage daughter, Kasha, had their long locks sheared to the scalp on March 16. Their willingness to become bald raised $7,000 as part of St. Baldrick’s Reno fundraising event, which generated more than $182,000.
“We met many of the families and kids — many who are now adults, partly due to the efforts of St. Baldrick’s,” Roberta said. “Please know every dollar you donated is used either to create these fundraising events, help these families or further research efforts to help them.”
Mother and daughter’s consent to become bald was part of a St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser to help find cures for children with cancer, as well as the Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program that will use their abundance of hair to make wigs for cancer patients.
“Most of my women friends have said they wouldn’t shave their heads and seem a little scared for me, let alone their teenage daughters,” said Butterfield beforehand. “Kasha has always fit the Shakespeare quote: ‘And though she be but little, she is fierce.’”
Roberta became involved with St. Baldrick’s, a not-for-profit foundation committed to finding cures for childhood cancers and providing survivors with long and healthy lives, last year.
“I’d never heard of St. Baldrick’s before, but when I found out the money goes to pediatric cancer research and care, I wanted to be involved,” Butterfield said. “I found out about it too late that year to be a shavee and donated to one of my team members. But I realized the only people who signed up to be shavees were guys who were practically bald already; it seemed to me we needed to get a little more hair on the floor.”
A year later, it became a family cause.
“When I told my girls about my plan, my oldest said she wanted in — and why didn’t we grow our hair out to donate to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program at the same time,” she said. “Both of my daughters and I have donated our hair to make wigs for cancer patients multiple times, so it was an easy add on.”
The family’s fight against cancer became more personal last fall when Roberta’s husband, Eric, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
“We are lucky since there are many treatment options, but it’s lifetime maintenance using various chemotherapy drugs. There is no cure — currently,” she said, noting that his best chance for cure is a new immunotherapy treatment called CAR-T cell therapy.
As the day neared for their longer-than-usual locks to disappear, Roberta was actually looking forward to becoming bald.
“Honestly, neither of us have ever had our hair this long … and we really can’t wait to get rid of it,” Roberta said. “It’s too much work keeping it neat, especially in the Nevada winds.”
Besides, they were prepared for the aftermath.
“We have caps and hats and even a couple of wigs,” she said. “My biggest concern isn’t cold as much as sunburn. I’m also curious to see if the stitches I got in the back of my head in first grade will show as a scar. Could be very Frankenstein.”
That scar, in fact, created a bald line in the back of Roberta’s head.
“It’s the classic story to tell your kids about why you don’t lean on the back legs of a chair,” she said. “You just might go over backwards into the desk behind you and crack your head open.”
As for Kasha, she was looking forward to Halloween and possibly wearing a costume to look like Eleven, a character in the Netflix series Stranger Things.
Anyone interesting in sharing their St. Baldrick’s photos can do so through WNC’s Facebook page.