PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Participants in the eighth annual Planet Head Day on Saturday will once again raise donations to support cancer patients and their families by volunteering to have their heads shaved or covered by a cap and then painted to represent a planet, moon or other space entity.
The event will be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 15 in Wieden Hall at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
“People really do pull together. It’s a real hug in the heart,” said Louise Calabrese, chairperson of board of Caring Area Neighbors for Cancer Education and Recovery (C-A-N-C-E-R), the local organization supporting patients and their families that will benefit from the event.
“We’re neighbors helping neighbors,” she said. “All the money we receive stays here, and we help over 50 families a year.”
UMPI’s Planet Head Day coordinator Kevin McCartney, professor of geology and director of the Northern Maine Museum of Science, explained recently that the event was begun in 2007. Staff members wanted to spotlight NASA’s New Horizons craft, slated to reach Pluto in 2015, as well as support colleague Jeanie McGowan, museum educational outreach coordinator, who was battling cancer at the time. Each year Planet Head Day is planned around the anniversary date of Pluto’s discovery.
Saturday’s event will include special activities, a craft table for children, and door prizes.
Among the special tributes this year will be that of Tim Graham of Mapleton and son Dusty Graham, husband and son of Heidi Graham, who lost her battle with cancer just a few months ago. Calabrese said the two put a notice on Facebook that if they could raise $500, they would shave their heads and Tim would shave his beard. They reached their goal, and so fulfill their promise on Saturday.
“They said they want to be able to help others like they were helped,” Calabrese said.
Those unable to make it to Saturday’s festivities can donate anytime. To donate, or to let the organization know of anyone who has been diagnosed and could benefit from the group’s outreach, call Calabrese at 764-0766, organization president Sue Nickerson at 764-6826 or treasurer Craig Green at 762-6500.