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Tackle it Joe!

Troudale salon hosts shave-a-thon fundraiser to support young boy with leukemia


Friends, young football players, fathers and grandfathers arrived en masse at Troutdale's Creative Edge Salon Wednesday evening to shave their heads in support of Joe MacDonald, a 9-year-old by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - Carter Baggs goes under the blade in support of his good friend Joe MacDonald.Gresham boy who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia less than a month ago.

Money raised will go to Joe and his family to help cover medical bills and frequent commutes to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland.

Joe's fourth-grade year at Fairview Elementary School was interrupted suddenly on April 24 when doctors diagnosed him with Burkitt's leukemia, a cancer affecting fewer than 300 people throughout the country every year. He started treatment soon after.

The family has spent $1,700 in three weeks on co-pays, prescriptions and gas to and from the hospital, costs that will continue for at least another six months of Joe's treatment.

"We are here supporting Joe and supporting friends," said Neil Green while his son Parker, 11, who often plays with Joe, sat in the hairstylist's chair awaiting his buzz cut.

Julie Baggs, a family friend of the MacDonalds, helped organize the shave-a-thon and is planning future fundraisers for the cause.

If you missed your chance to support Joe at the salon, drop by a car wash and a pop can drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at Weston Kia on Southeast 223rd Avenue and Stark Street.

Donations will be accepted at the event.

Joe is a huge football fan. His favorite team is the Green Bay Packers. He got to play in only two games with his YMCA flag football team before he fell ill.

Baggs' son, Carter, is a close friend of Joe's. Their shared passion for football has brought the two families closer over the past few years.by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - Joe MacDonald (Left) and friend, Carter Baggs, share a love for football.

“Joe needs him more than ever now,” Baggs said. “They don't get to see each other very much.”

Carter and a number of his teammates huddled around Joe, who had just returned from a visit to the hospital when he arrived at the salon.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - Sporting fresh buzz cuts, Joes football team surround their friend at Wednesdays Shave-a-thon fundraiser in downtown Troutdale.Joe is scheduled to start his second round of chemotherapy this week.

His father, Ross, was happy to have the extra support.

"This is great," he said. "More than we could have imagined."

Joe is known for his playful, outgoing personality and ability to make light of a tough situation.

Bracelets, T-shirts and a Facebook page made to support Joe throughout his treatment tout his motto: “Hustle. Hit. Never quit. Tackle it Joe!” (all football references).

Shirts are available in green and gold, Packers' colors.

With a little brother and a little sister at home, his father, a Multnomah County sheriff's deputy, and mother, who stays at home, are juggling workloads to keep their family together, taking turns staying with Joe at the hospital and the kids at home.

Yet that doesn't stop them from having a little fun.

Joe and his father are known for sharing a wicked sense of humor, Baggs said.

It is not unlike the two to make mom jump out of her seat and scream by announcing a fake high temperature.

“Whatever makes that kid laugh makes us all happy,” Baggs said.



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  • 23 Nov 2014

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