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Brothers to shave heads to support Brennan

Two young brothers will shave their heads for a charity event in support of their school friend who beat cancer.

Jackson LaHuta, 7, and Tyler LaHuta, 5, from Warwick, will be a part of Team Brennan in this month's fundraiser for the St Baldrick's Foundation at the Docksider Pub and Restaurant.

The Somersfield Academy pupils are longtime friends of Brennan Watkins, 6, who battled leukaemia from the age of 3.

Brennan, the team captain, will also be shaving his head 18 months after his hair began growing again.

Jackson said: “I'm really excited to shave my head because I know it's helping our friend Brennan and will help find a cure for childhood cancer.”

Tyler added: “Brennan is our brother. We'll do anything to help him.”

Their father, David LaHuta, noted the pair would be shaving their heads for the first time as they “have always had long shaggy haircuts”.

Mr LaHuta said: “My wife and I couldn't possibly be prouder of our boys for taking on this cause. Every decision they've made to support Team Brennan has been their own.

“They've acted independently of us and with kind, thoughtful hearts throughout the process. Two parents couldn't ask for kinder, more compassionate sons, and for that we are very grateful.”

He was not surprised by their decision because the boys like to volunteer and give money from their own savings to help others.

He said the decision to participate was bigger than shaving their heads.

Mr LaHuta added: “Jackson and Tyler are most excited about making an impact in other children's lives.

“They know the long battle Brennan fought to overcome cancer and they're grateful that they can play a small role in helping other children like him who are fighting for their lives.”

He said the aim was to raise $5,000 for Team Brennan. They hit $3,000 within the first 48 hours of joining the fundraising mission.

“We're hoping to surpass our goal by the time the boys shave their heads on March 15,” he added.

The St Baldrick's Foundation is dedicated exclusively to childhood cancer research, making it the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants.

Mr LaHuta said: “The money that people like Jackson and Tyler raise not only helps children in the US, but it directly benefits children here in Bermuda, since many of the donations are routed through the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre, which is the Foundation's local partner.”

He said people should support St Baldrick to help scientists find cures for childhood cancers and to help children diagnosed with the disease to live long and healthy lives.

Brennan will be joined by his father, Michael Watkins, who will also be shaving his head.

His mother, Denise Watkins, said: “Brennan is our superhero! Brennan continues to be such a happy and brave kid who chooses only to see the positives through this journey.

“He is excited to raise both money and awareness for paediatric cancer research because he wants to help prevent childhood cancer.”

Team Brennan, as a whole, will try to raise $50,000 this year.

People can support Team Brennan by visiting stbaldricks.org/teams/TeamBrennan2019 or stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/1014555/2019. The Docksider event is from 5pm to 10pm on March 15. More St Baldrick's events will take place at Saltus Grammar School on March 15 and Mount St Agnes Academy on March 11

Tyler LaHuta, left, and his brother Jackson,right, enjoy a moment with their friend and cancer survivor Brennan Watkins (photograph contributed)

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Published March 01, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated March 01, 2019 at 9:10 am)

Brothers to shave heads to support Brennan

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