Sun Shines on Good Deeds

Photos courtesy Minerva Perez, Marianna Martinez poses with Raiders Wide Receiver Rod Streater just prior to having her head shaved for charity.

In support and recognition of children battling cancer, Alameda resident Marianna Martinez, 11, participated in the St. Baldrick’s Day event at Oakland Children’s Hospital. The Lincoln Middle School student traded her elbow-length hair for a shaved head, she said because she wanted to support a classmate suffering from cancer.

“She has renewed my faith in humanity,” said her older sister, Minerva Perez. “This 11-year-old girl has shown more courage in a single day than most of us will in a lifetime.”
Perez told the Sun that Martinez advised her teachers, principal and friends that she was having her head shaved in support of all children fighting cancer but especially for her friend so she wouldn’t feel alone.

“Even with all the bullying that goes on, she is willing to face the world bald to shed light on childhood cancer,” said Perez.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation helps individuals and groups raise money to support cancer research. The act of shaving one’s head not only shows solidarity with cancer patients who often lose their hair during treatment, but also gives fundraisers like Martinez an opportunity to raise funds from friends, family and other acquaintances.

Each year Oakland Children’s Hospital has held a St. Baldrick’s Day event the past seven years. In past years, members of the Alameda police and fire departments have had their heads shaved as well.

In addition to her activities funding cancer research, over summer vacation, Martinez actively sought out volunteer opportunities in the community. While she turned out to be too young for most, she was able to get a community service gig walking an elderly woman’s dog.

“She is a very active little citizen of the community,” said Perez. “She has volunteered with me at the Dia de Los Muertos festival and La Clinica health care in Oakland.”

Photo Courtesy Minerva Perez, Martinez sports her new haircut.