Bald for Bux: CenturyLink workers are shorn’uf caring

A simple brainstorming session between CenturyLink Hood River’s Jaclyn Miller and Heather McClain has turned into a $3,370 fundraiser in support of coworker Tiffany Baumgarten.

Baumgarten, a White Salmon resident and 15-year employee of CenturyLink, is battling two types of breast cancer. And while office staff had previously held fundraisers to offset her medical costs and bills, Miller wanted to raise a more significant sum than “just a couple of hundred bucks here and there.”

As Miller and McClain talked, an idea emerged: Office staff would shave their heads when certain fundraising milestones were met. “Bald for Bux” was born.

Convincing co-workers wasn’t a problem. “Everybody just really likes Tiffany and we wanted to support her,” says Miller. Six women and three men agreed to participate, Miller among them.

Raising money wasn’t a problem, either, with the group making their first $1,000 benchmark only one week in.

“We set high goals, but apparently not high enough because we accomplished it so quickly,” says Miller.

At first, the effort was limited to office emails. Eventually, a “Bald for Bux” Facebook page was set up so friends and family could watch the fundraiser’s progress. A PayPal link made contributing easier for those out of town.

The donations kept pouring in, both monetary and otherwise. Infinite Graphix donated matching T-shirts to those who participated, as well as to Baumgarten, as the team’s captain.

Jolene Laney and Laurie Hicks were the first to shave their heads at the $1,000 mark. Laney donated her hair to Locks of Love.

At $1,500, they were joined by Martha Cardon and Jennifer Springer. Before the group had reached $2,000, Patrick Logan, Amy Davis and Chris Crown shaved their heads, and at the $2,000 mark, it was Miller’s turn. Rick Esaacson, who hadn’t shaved his mustache for 13 years, shaved his head, beard and mustache when the group hit $3,000.

Arizona resident Marjorie Kaneshige, the sister of a friend of Miller’s, is also battling cancer. Unable to donate money, she felt strongly enough about the cause to shave her own head, even though her hair had only recently grown back from a previous bout. She is the first non-CenturyLink employee to join.

Miller jokes that now she, her husband and their son all have the same haircut.

“As weird and as scary as it was when the clippers hit my head, it was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done.

“No one cried,” she adds. “It was for such a good cause that no one worried about being bald.”

For its next fundraising effort, the group at CenturyLink plans to hold a garage sale and car wash at the office sometime in May or June.

Baumgarten is overwhelmed by the support she’s received, likening her coworkers to family.

“I’m totally in awe of their generosity,” she says. “It’s hard to deal with, but they make it so much easier.

“I love them all. They make me feel special and it’s so nice that everyone has gone out of their way to do this for me.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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