This story appeared March 2, 2010 on KTVI Fox 2 News. Click here to watch the story.
By Tom O'Neal
KTVI/Fox 2 News
Laura Wulf has spent 20 years as a nurse at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. For 12 of those years, she's worked in oncology, helping families through the crisis of having a child with cancer. She enjoys the close personal relationships that she develops with them. She trains new oncology nurses.
In 2003, she started a St. Louis chapter of the St. Baldrick's fundraiser. Participants shave their heads in return for financial pledges. The money goes to further childhood cancer research. Shaving one's head is meant to show solidarity with the little patients who often lose their hair during cancer treatments. Laura has had her head shaved a couple of times. She feels it builds her credibility with her patients, helps her better empathize and identify with them.
Then last fall, something happened that brought an even deeper understanding of what her patients and their families were going through. Laura's 2-year old son, Jude.. was diagnosed with Non- Hodgkin's lymphoma.. a form of cancer. She says it was a "wow" moment.. like "wow", it's happening to me and my family now. Some may see that as a cruel twist of fate for someone who has dedicated her life to fighting cancer. But Laura says it's just further proof that no one is immune.
Jude's doctor, Deepika Bhatla at Cardinal Glennon says kids tend to do better with this type of cancer. The treatment is a year of intense chemotherapy. He is handling it well so far and so is Laura. She says she draws comfort from her friends and colleagues at Cardinal Glennon and strength from the parents she has watched deal with the worst of times and emerge strong, giving people. And yes, she feels like this experience.. as tough as it is.. will help her become an even better nurse.
The next St. Baldrick's event is Saturday, March 6, 2010 at Helen Fitzgerald's Irish Bar and Grill on South Lindbergh from noon until 8pm. 290 people have signed up to get their heads shaved. They can't handle anymore. However, you are invited to come out and cheer them on.. and to donate. If you can't make it out, you can still donate online.
See the original story at KTVI's Web site.