Teen discards vanity to help find a cure for cancer

While many teenage girls primp themselves to perfection during the precious minutes of their mornings, one girl’s routine has just been cut short. Literally.

To raise money for cancer research, 16-year-old Jasmine McCann this week shaved her head. So did her father, Tim McCann, 51, both of La Crescenta.

They are among more than 30,000 volunteers raising money through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

The Monrovia-based foundation has collected $13 million so far this year, drawing thousands to shave or be shaved at events nationwide.

This is the 10th year that Tim McCann has had his head shaved at Matt Denny’s Ale House restaurant in Arcadia, where the event draws local fire and police officials and family and friends of cancer survivors.

McCann’s parents died of cancer, with his father spending his last nine years enduring chemotherapy treatments, he said.

“They couldn’t cure it,” Tim McCann said. “They could just keep it in check. It was a rough ride for him.”

Each year, McCann would nudge his wife, Marianne, 49, and their two daughters, Jasmine, and 12-year-old Anna, to join him in shaving his head. Jasmine said she remembers thinking, “Hair is too precious.”

Now, she said, she couldn’t care less.

Her catalyst for joining her dad this year is 13-year-old Christine Lockhart, a La Crescenta girl who was diagnosed with lymphoma last April. Christine is best friends with Jasmine’s sister, Anna.

“The McCanns were the first to visit Christine in the hospital,” said Susan Lockhart, Christine’s mom. “They were really as shocked by Christine getting sick as we were.”

Christine has undergone a series of chemotherapy treatments. Now a seventh-grader at Rosemont Middle School, her hair is growing back in curls.

Jasmine, meanwhile, has collected $805, mostly using Facebook, toward her $1,000 goal. Tim McCann had raised $830 from family and colleagues at Northrop Grumman, where he’s an environmental engineer. Each year, he said he surpasses his $1,500 goal.

“I think she’s very mature for doing such a thing,” Marianne McCann said. “Most girls her age are very vain. Most girls my age are vain.”

A month ago, Jasmine’s hair was near her waist. As a power-forward on Crescenta Valley High School’s junior varsity basketball team, she first trimmed it to shoulder length, and now says she is excited about “feeling the breeze when I run” through her shortest cut yet.

But she’s even more excited about being able to help contribute toward finding a cure for the disease that’s made her sister’s friend so ill.

And if her buzz cut can help contribute to a short cut to a cure, so much the better.


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