Basalt boy using his head to help find a cure for cancer
BASALT It was 2005 when 4-year-old Nathan Jaffrey had a bald head following treatments for stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer. He has a bald head again now only this time its because he voluntarily shaved his head to help raise money for research to help other kids with cancer.Nathan, now 7, is the son of Marc and Mary Jaffrey, formerly of Silt and now living in Basalt. Originally given a 10-20 percent chance of survival, as of June 2009, Nathan will have been in remission for three years.Hes now considered in remission and hes doing great, Mary Jaffrey said. Although theres always going to be some kind of side effects from the medicine.After he was diagnosed on Memorial Day in May 2006, Nathan named his cancer Mr. Yucky. His parents at first thought he had pneumonia.He had a racing pulse and was coughing, Marc Jaffrey said.It turned out that Nathan had a cancer that had settled into his lungs, which had spread to his lymph nodes, neck and bone marrow, according to his father. Nathan was airlifted from Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs to Presbyterian/St. Lukes Hospital in Denver, where he spent several months.Nathan underwent numerous surgeries and procedures, but was deemed to be in remission as of June 2006.
It was February 2008 when the Eagle Valley Enterprise did a Valentines Day story about two English Shire horses in Eagle who were inseparable. Named Andrew and Fergie after the royal British couple, the pair were icons in Vail and had never spent a day apart in 14 years.Unfortunately, Fergie became ill and had to be put down, leaving Andrew absolutely despondent.After her death, his owners put him in a pasture where he simply stood for three days with his head down and never moved, according to the report.But then he was hooked up with Nathan Jaffrey, who was also trying to get well both physically and emotionally, and the pair soon became fast friends both healing each other.Nathan and Andrew bonded, Mary Jaffrey said. [The friendship] mended both of them.Cindy Pettit of Eagle, read the touching story of Nathan and Andrew and contacted the Jaffreys. For the past four years, Pettit has participated in the organization of St. Baldricks Foundation Shaving the Way to Conquer Kids Cancer event, shaving her own head to help raise money for cancer research for kids.As a parent and now a grandparent, I can only imagine the agony of this kind of diagnosis, Pettit writes on her profile on the St. Baldricks website. We cant let the research slow down cancer isnt and we cant let promising doctors slip through the cracks.After hearing Nathans story, Pettit asked the Jaffreys if she could shave her head in honor of Nathan. They agreed.The Jaffreys attended the 2008 event at the Eagle Fire Station where Nathan was an honorary member.He was dumbfounded at all the people that were there, Mary Jaffrey said.
Although he was not a sponsored participant of the group, Nathan wanted to shave his head, too.But the idea of seeing her son with a bald head brought back so many bad many memories for Mary of when her son was so sick and undergoing chemotherapy.He said, Mom, Im shaving my head, Mary Jaffrey recalled. I said, No youre not. The idea made me want to vomit, but I kept telling myself it was for a good cause.It took an hour and a half for Nathan to convince his mother to let him do it.Mom, the kids that are sick need my help now and its just hair, Nathan insisted. Its the least I can do. Its my hair and Im going to do this.And he did.But then Nathan went a step further.He came up with the idea to charge people 10-cents to rub his bald head and made a sign which he took with him everywhere he went. He made everyone he met rub his bald head, his father, Marc Jaffrey said proudly.Nathan raised $100 from the rubs, which he donated back to St. Baldricks.This past Saturday, Nathan again shaved his head at the St. Baldricks event, only this time as a sponsored participant.As of Sunday, Nathan had raised $1,850 with another $250 promised.His goal was $500 and he definitely knocked that out, Mary Jaffrey said.
Right now, Nathan Jaffrey is in remission, although he will again go through his tests in April.Its always nerve-wracking, his father said.But the family, which also includes Nathans older brother and younger sister, are doing better.And Nathans hair will grow back.Hell have a full head of hair by this summer, Mary Jaffrey said.Hrice@postindependent.com
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
In 1895, the fad sweeping Aspen for women was to dye their hair red.