One brave soon-to-be 17-year-old girl is shaving her head to help keep the memory of a childhood friend alive.
“At first, I was just tired of having long hair,” she laughed. “But, I really wanted to do this for the cause.”
Growing up in a military family, Meg traveled across Europe as a child.
When she landed in Belgium around 5 years old, she befriended her first pal, named Emma Jordan. But Emma was soon diagnosed with cancer and died at 7.
Meg never forgot about her friend.
“Childhood cancer [research] is something I feel really passionate about,” said the junior at Patchogue-Medford High School.
Meg was toying with the idea of buzzing her head after first learning about St. Baldrick’s; but, it wasn’t until this past Thanksgiving that she signed up.
“It was kind of a spur of the moment decision,” she said. “I was just like, “Yes, I am doing this!”
The support from family and friends has been incredible, she said.
“Most of my friends think I am crazy, but also really cool,” Meg chuckled.
Meg admitted that she still gets a little emotional at thought of sporting a bald head.
“It goes back-and-forth between being nervous and excited,” she said.
But it’s also empowering, she says.
“A girl with a bald head is like a power statement,” she said.
Meg, who plays tennis and is a stagehand in her school play, is trying to use her school to help maximize her fundraising as well. Since November, she’s raised over $2,800 through her fundraising page; however, her goal is to reach $5,000.
To achieve that mark, Meg is working with Pat-Med’s women’s empowerment club.
“I am extremely proud, extremely proud,” said Reese, “We’ll give her all the support we can and all the hugs we can. ”
Volunteers with St. Baldrick’s will be cutting participants’ hair, including Meg’s, on March 12 at 9 a.m. at the Waverley Avenue Elementary School in Holtsville.
Top: Meg Gabel with her grandfather, David Reese, at Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company in Patchogue. (Credit: Nicholas Esposito)