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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
Rays

Tampa Bay Rays go bald to benefit pediatric cancer

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PORT CHARLOTTE -

MaKala Muir grabbed the clippers Friday morning and went to work on Joe Maddon’s locks, buzzing the white head of hair belonging to the Tampa Bay Rays manager as part of her war against pediatric cancer.

Muir, 15, of Tampa, is a two-year survivor of Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that produces hard tumors in the soft tissue of the body. She was one of a handful pediatric cancer survivors from the Tampa area that participated in the Rays “Fortune Favors the Bald” event before their game with the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.

For the second straight year, members of the Rays organization shaved their heads to create awareness and raise money for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

“It’s … it’s very … I don’t even know how to put it into words,” Muir said. “It’s so great to see great athletes shaving their heads for such a good cause, showing supporting Kids like me. It just really makes a statement, because you don’t see a lot of people that support childhood cancer. It’s not very out there, so it really means a lot to see athletes doing this for us.”

Beginning with team owner Stuart Sternberg and moving down the line, 65 members of the organization had their heads shaved, or in the case of designated hitter Luke Scott, his mutton chops shaved. Sandy Dengler, the Rays director of major league administrations, became the first women in the organization to have her head shaved during the event, which is now in its second year.

Phillies third baseman Michael Young even shaved his head for the cause.

Nancy Crane, the executive director of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, said the Lightning and Buccaneers have similar events planned in the coming weeks.

The Cut for the Cure raised $350,000 nationwide last year. Crane said the goal this year is $500,000.

The Rays raised $8,000 during the 2012 event. Their goal this year is $20,000.

Crane said she couldn’t begin to quantify how much the awareness created by the Rays, Lightning and Bucs will impact her foundation, but she knows it will make a big difference.

“With exposure like this we’re going to make real changes in the way kids are treated,” Crane said. “We’re looking for less toxic, more targeted therapies for kids with cancer. The therapies we have are strong, and they’re old. And that’s the difference we’re going to make.”


rmooney@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @RMooneyTBO

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