MOUNT DORA — Lake County firefighters will be showing that bald really is beautiful when they shave their heads to support a fellow firefighter’s son who has been battling cancer.
The Lake County Firefighters Charity is hosting a “Shave-a-Thon” at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 22 in the parking lot of Black Bear Smokehouse, 18750 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora, to show solidarity with firefighter Nick Ryon, whose son, 7-year-old Jay, was diagnosed with leukemia in January.
“In support of Jay losing his hair during his chemo, we are pledging to shave our heads with him,” said Lake County Fire Lt. Brian Gamble, president of the Firefighters Charity. “We are taking pledges to shave our heads. Why? Because we all want to be like Jay.”
The Shave-a-Thon is a family-friendly event complete with bounce house, corn-hole competition, coloring tent, dunk tank, food eating contest, DJ, and even an appearance by Santa, who may be shedding his own white locks for the event.
Jay’s plight gained international support as the “Team Jay” Facebook page his parents, Nick Ryon and Maggie Denk, created to cheer him up, grew to nearly 9,000 members. It was not long before the media picked up the story of the strong little boy who loves soccer, lacrosse, and Tinkerbell, and ran his first 5K when he was just 4 years old.
The family celebrated the news of Jay’s remission this week, but noted he will require ongoing treatment and be classified in a high-risk group for the next three and half years.
“The treatment is working. Now it has to just keep working,” said Denk in a recent Facebook post. “Jay still has a long road ahead of him but we know he's going to keep kicking cancer's butt.”
Supporters of the Shave-a-Thon may either sign up as a “shavee,” or sponsor a firefighter to have their head shaved. To find out more, visit www.lakefirefightercharity.org.