When local Tahoe teen Bailey Johnson was 9 months old, the doctors said he wouldn’t live another day and definitely not past his first birthday. He was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that starts in certain types of primitive nerve cells in an embryo or fetus. Today, Bailey is almost 16 and responsible for spearheading a yearly effort in my community of South Lake Tahoe to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating childhood cancer.
More children are lost to cancer in the U.S. than any other disease—in fact, more than many other childhood diseases combined. Childhood cancer isn’t quite so rare in our small town either. Jenn and Jim Drennan’s beautiful daughter Caitlin was born 4 months premature in 2010. She was rushed to the hospital in Sacramento where three days later she underwent exploratory abdominal surgery and began chemotherapy. Like Bailey, Caitlin was also diagnosed with stage four Neuroblastoma, which, by the time she was born, was already spread throughout her body.
This year, more than 150 participants shaved their head at the St. Baldrick’s Tahoe event to show their support for their fellow community members and to help stamp out childhood cancer. They raised more than $54,000, besting the previous years’ totals by more than 15 people and $13,000.
I was happy to lend my skills as photographer in the name of Caitlin, whose family I love, cherish and respect. Here are a few of my favorite images from the night. If you were a participant or spectator at the event and would like to view or download your images, you may do so via this link.