At 17, Ariel Kohll knows the toll cancer takes. She was 10 when her father, Louis Kohll, died from it.
The senior at Omaha Westside High School has raised money for cancer-fighting groups, including the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which raises money for children with cancer.
She and a few others with Temple Youth at Temple Israel had their heads shaved recently to raise more than $1,000 for St. Baldrick's.
“Certain (very brave) people pledge to shave their heads for donations, and all of the money raised goes straight into pediatric cancer research. It's also a good conversation starter about St. Baldrick's,” Kohll said.“Everyone in the community has been very supportive, and no one tried to talk me out of it.”
The Temple Youth event also allowed participants to cut their hair and have it donated to Locks of Love.
She had donated her hair twice before, but “I (went) all the way bald for two reasons:
“One, because my dad passed away from leukemia when I was 10, and he had to have his head shaved before he passed.
“Also, because I applied to be a counselor at Camp Rainbow, a summer camp for kids with cancer and other blood-related disorders. I want those kids to know that I am with them every step of the way, that they are not alone.”
The hair-cutting and head-shaving, done by professional barbers Gretchen Radler and Jennifer Miller, who volunteered their time, came at the end of a lock-in with youths from Temple Israel and Lincoln.
The Temple Israel youth group also had a Feb. 10 spaghetti dinner to benefit Camp Rainbow. The dinner raised $18,000, Kohll said.
Her plans include attending the University of New Mexico, her dad's alma mater, and majoring in special education.
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