Local business leaders lose hair to support cancer research

Dr. Debra Wynia gets her head shaved by her nephew Justin.

Forest Lake dentist Deb Wynia and her husband, real estate agent Chad Wynia, have raised a total of $7,122 for children’s cancer research.

Together the Wynias hosted an event for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity in which people collect donations in return for shaving their heads.

Yes, you read that correctly: About a dozen people shaved their heads on Sunday, Oct. 14 at Kieran’s Irish Pub in Minneapolis to raise money for the charity.

On that day the group raised a total of $12,111. Deb brought in $3,867 and Chad $3,255.

Dr. Wynia, who works at G2 Dental, 1068 Lake St. S, said the money goes directly to the foundation, which then gives grants to hospitals and researchers to help find cures for cancer, fund clinical trials, and combat side effects such as vomiting.

By Nov. 21, the Wynias had grown back some hair.

The Wynias got involved because of their nephew Justin, who has neuroblastoma. Justin has been battling cancer for six years, since he was diagnosed at age 3. Now cancer-free, Justin is scanned every three months. Five times he has been found to have neuroblastoma, and five times he has beaten it. His next scan will be this week.

“The reason he’s been able to live as long as he has is research,” Dr. Wynia said. Justin lives in Denver, but has traveled to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York for treatment.

Justin was chosen by St. Baldric’s to be one of their five ambassadors for 2012.

A second head-shaving event was held at a University of Minnesota athletic field on Oct. 29. This time 120 players from UM athletic teams had their heads shaved. Chad Wynia was responsible for getting that event off the ground.

The total raised from both days is over $43,000.