‘Shave for the Brave’ aids cancer survivors, relatives

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 3, 2013

SALISBURY — Wendy Baskins didn’t plan to join the “46 Mommas” initiative.
But after her son’s second bout with cancer last year, she quickly agreed to join the organization’s 2013 class.
“It sort of made my vision and my purpose even stronger,” Baskins said, “that you want to rid the world of cancer.”
Baskins joined dozens of moms across the country who traveled to a conference in San Antonio, Texas, for a campaign aimed to increase awareness and empower survivors and relatives of cancer survivors.
The program, nicknamed the ‘Shave for the Brave,’ hosts the mothers for several events including a book donation at a local children’s hospital and an event where the mothers have their heads shaved in honor of their children and the cause.
Baskins did it for her 16-year-old son, Robert Gilmore.
Gilmore was diagnosed with medulloblastoma at age 3. Twelve years later he was diagnosed again with colon cancer and treated at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem.
“It’s rare in children,” Baskins said of the disease. “He is actually the first child Brenner has ever had with colon cancer.”
After years of waiting rooms and treatments, Baskins said, she met a lot of parents of cancer stricken children.
Part of her trip, she said, was to honor and empower those families.
“It’s become like a fellowship,” she said.
Robert was re-diagnosed in July. He’s still dealing with side effects from treatment, Baskins said.
He’s doing good. We are suffering with the late effects even from the chemo from this treatment,” she said.
Baskins said her son has also suffered several late effects from the radiation and chemo he underwent as a toddler.
She hopes young parents can learn from her experience.
“For some parents, they get ideas for treatment that maybe they didn’t get from their providers that they can take back,” she said. “That fellowship that you get from these mommas can’t be put into dollar signs. When you’re feeling down, you have a mom that’s also been through those things.”