GREENSBORO, N.C. — Armed with a Foo Fighters T-shirt, a computer, and a longing to help cancer-stricken children who have been robbed of years from their life, James Mandrillo is on a journey to bring some light to their battle.
In March, James, 12, began a campaign through St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money for childhood cancer research.
James, who also suffers from Lyme disease, said he wants to empower those who are battling cancer in honor of his two friends who were diagnosed with cancer in pre-K and fourth grade.
“It was kind of a hard thing to hear because they were still my friends,” James said. “Even though I wasn’t part of their family. It was hard to hear. I couldn’t imagine the pain they must have felt.”
To raise money and awareness for the journey, James shaved his head to show solidarity with his classmates growing up.
“I really hope my students, classmates and friends really could understand a little bit more from what I’ve done. Something like this, you can help kids that really did have to [lose their hair],” he said. “Something so simple as shaving your head can do something so big for someone.”
He hopes that people don’t just acknowledge the shaving of his head, but that they take action and join in the fight as well.
While his hair has started to grow back, the Kernodle middle schooler plans to re-shave his head and to join cancer awareness fun runs once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.