Sammy Mederos’s beaming smile and long, thick, curly blond hair are the very picture of health.
To look at her, you’d never guess she is a leukemia survivor.
But it wasn’t that long ago the now 9-year-old was severely ill from chemotherapy treatments.
She was diagnosed in 2009, while in kindergarten at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary. It was a long road to recovery, but Sammy is now in remission.
Ever since her hair fell out three years ago, she has been growing it out. So, it is no small act to willingly allow someone to shave it all off again.
However, that is exactly what Sammy will be doing this Sunday at the first-ever Washougal St. Baldrick’s event.
“I wanted to do this because I don’t want any other kids to go through what I did,” she said. “I was so miserable. I didn’t have energy to play and slept constantly.”
Sammy will be joined at the event by fellow cancer survivor Mary LaFrance, profiled in the May 28 edition of the Post-Record, and Mayor Sean Guard. Other volunteers include a Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputy and a 6-year-old Vancouver cancer survivor.
Here’s how it works: People get sponsored to have their heads shaved at local area St. Baldrick’s events. All funds donated go toward the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to help find a cure for childhood cancer. Eighty-two percent of the proceeds go directly toward research, according to the organization.
“We had a lot of people who supported me when I had cancer,” Sammy said. “Now I want to help.”
Her mother, Michele, a counselor at Cape Horn-Skye, said this is her daughter’s way to “pay it forward.”
“I just have this idea that the people who donated decades before to help find a cure for cancer made it so that today, 80 percent of all kids survive,” Michelle said. “It’s all about the research.”