St. Baldricks fundraiser
Strands of hair fall across Katrina Learned's shoulders as her daughter Aurora shaves her mother's head outside the UC Santa Cruz Engineering 2 building Friday afternoon. Her dad, Wink Saville, at left with grandson Grant, shaved his head, as did 30 others, to raise money for St. Baldrick's Foundation, which awards grants for childhood cancer research. (Kevin Johnson -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Genomics Institute Wins St. Baldrick’s Foundation ‘Battle of the Bald’ Tournament

Treehouse Genomics News

By Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Aurora Learned, 4, shared her mom’s lap with her younger brother Friday afternoon, watching as barbers gave her grandfather and her mom a bald new look.

Afterward, the blonde tyke posed with her mom in the courtyard of UC Santa Cruz Engineering Building 2 as her dad looked on and dozens of people applauded and snapped photos. Her mom, Katrina Learned, 35, works at UCSC’s Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative. Despite the loss of her shoulder-length locks, she smiled. She had a lot of reasons to be grateful. Aurora, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at 2 months, is cancer-free.

The Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative has a $2.5 million grant from St. Baldrick’s Foundation to use genomic data to see what drugs used to treat adults might be therapeutic for children. More than 30 people — six of them women — agreed to shave their heads Friday in solidarity to raise money for St. Baldrick’s so more cancer researchers will get the funding they need.

Published by Santa Cruz Sentinel