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Vernon Hills cop is a cut above; shaving head for St. Baldrick’s

VernHills Police crime preventiofficer SharJoseph will have her head shaved for St. Baldricks fundraiser. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

Vernon Hills Police crime prevention officer Sharon Joseph will have her head shaved for St. Baldricks fundraiser. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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If you want to support the effort, you can sponsor a police officer through a credit card donation online at http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/7662/2013.

You can also sponsor specific shavees or volunteers from that page.

For more information about the St. Baldrick event, contact volunteer event organizer, Officer Jim Koch at (847) 362-4449 or jkoch@vhills.org or Officer Sharon Joseph at (847) 247-4889 or sjoseph@vhills.org.

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Updated: March 27, 2013 2:12AM



Sharon Joseph’s long hair can turn heads, but shaving off her long tresses that reach the middle of her back is going to be a head-turning event at the Vernon Hills Police Department’s St. Baldrick event March 9 at Westfield Hawthorn Mall.

If that doesn’t turn your head, how about the fact that the police officer at Vernon Hills is going be joined by her 9-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, 5-year-old son, Ryan, and her husband, Tony, who is a police officer in Waukegan.

Joseph said her husband didn’t really have a reaction when she told him of her plan. “He knows that if I am going to do something, I’m going to do it,” she said. Her daughter volunteered right away.

“She insisted on participating and I am very proud of her,” said Joseph.

Both her husband and son already have short hair, so they are actually trying to grow theirs out so there is more to cut. “My husband hates hair. Our boys like their hair short,” she said.

Sharon actually cut her hair pretty short more than two years ago. “My hair grows pretty quickly. Hopefully, it will continue to grow quickly,” she said with a laugh from her office in the Crime Prevention Bureau in Vernon Hills where she works as a public information officer.

She has a couple of reasons for participating, one of them very personal.

“First, kids should not have to deal with being sick. They should only have to worry about what games they’re going to play today,” she said.

She also feels for the parents and knows they would trade places with their children in a second if they could. “Being a parent myself, I know how hard it is to see my children sick and in the hospital,” she said.

Lastly, parents never should have to bury a child. That’s what her parents had to do when her brother, Matt, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) at 24. He fought for 7 years before his body finally gave up. “It will be 10 years on Feb. 22, and I still miss him every day,” she said.

“So if I can help raise money that will fund research that might find a cure for ALL and prevent other families from going through what mine did, I have no problem shaving my head,” she said. She will save the longest part of her hair for Locks of Love, which provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical procedures.

Now that her family is committed, they are looking for residents and others to help support the effort by pledging money to the St. Baldrick Foundation, the world’s largest volunteer-driven fund-raising organization benefiting childhood cancer research.

Worldwide, more than 175,000 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer each year and one out of every five of those children won’t survive.

Last year, the Vernon Hills Police Department raised over $13,000, and this year, they are setting their goal even higher.

Last year, the participants included Officer Rebecca Foy, who raised $3,000 by herself, and Officer Dan Hill, Officer Jim Koch, Officer Ward Feger, Officer Dan Mead, Comdr. Jack Rabey, Investigator Ken Berryhill, Sgt. (now commander) Todd Williams, Officer Jim Brocks and Investigator Andy Rheintgen.

The Foundation began because three men decided to turn their company’s St. Patrick’s Day party into a fund-raiser. They had 20 volunteers and hoped to raise “$17,000 on the 17th.” They raised over $104,000, shaving their heads because that’s what children with cancer have to deal with: a bald head. Hence the name St. BALDrick’s.

Since 2000, the foundation has raised more than a $150 million, including more than $31 million last year alone — and more than $23 million was given out as grants.

On Saturday, March 9, beginning at noon, members of the police department will be at Westfield Hawthorn Mall (Vernon Hills) in the Gap Court having their heads shaved to raise money for children’s cancer research and to show support for those youngsters who have lost their hair.



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