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Hair today, gone tomorrow

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By Richard RoBards

Katie Irwin was just another name on a list - a rather long list - of people willing to have their heads shaved to help kids fight cancer.

I didn't know Irwin before March 15th and still don't, really. But I feel close to her - a member of the hairless brother/sisterhood, if you will.

Irwin is the Campbellsville University junior who baby-sits Max and Heather Wise's children - Grayson, Jackson and Carter. The latter is the 10-month-old in the midst of a battery of cancer treatments for something called Stage IV neuroblastoma.

As Carter's story evolved over the past four months, so did the news of the St. Baldrick's Foundation and a way for people to put their money where their hearts and minds were taking them - right into Carter's life and his struggles to regain his health.

It's been an emotional roller coaster for his parents, grandparents and close personal friends. People who didn't even know Carter, but who thought they had an inkling of what he and his family must be going through, have showed so much compassion. Quite a few sent their get-well wishes by soliciting pledges for the first-ever (in Campbellsville, anyway) hair shaving to find a way to cure kids' cancer.

That's when the clippers met the hairline for nearly 70 people on March 15.

With hair, Irwin was just another woman pacing the gymnasium floor at the Powell Athletic Center. Without hair, well, did you notice those drop-dead gorgeous eyes?

Blue as a fresh-morning Colorado sky, Irwin's bright eyes and smile set the stage for about three hours of shaving. The end result was about $50,000 that will go toward cancer research and cures for all the things that ail children.

To be honest, I had cold chills the whole time I was in Powell Athletic Center a couple of Saturdays ago ... and not because every breeze is a cool breeze without hair.

The innocence of childhood has been interrupted for so many and it amazed me what was able to be accomplished in three weeks.

Irwin laid her hair on the line (as did many others). But if you wondered how Donna Wise became a Hall of Fame basketball coach, serve with her on a committee of people she leads that is in pursuit of a goal.

You wonder how she keeps George in line and juggled for 30 years a family, teaching responsibilities and coaching? Work with her for a few minutes and you'll absorb a few organizational tips.

She can add something else to her resume - Hall of Fame fundraiser.

* * *

Gov. Steve Beshear is staying true to his promise for expanded gaming and the drum beat has extended to the NCAA basketball tournament bracket.

He bet Iowa Gov. Chet Culver on the outcome of the Western Kentucky University game against Drake.

I guess Beshear doesn't think Idaho or Wisconsin has anything to offer and that's why no wager with governors of teams that Louisville and Kentucky are playing?

It's kind of ironic in a way. If Western wins, Beshear will receive 40 pounds of premium Berkshire pork raised on a northwest Iowa farm.

I wonder if that's a first cousin to the pork Beshear complained that Fletcher was handing out too regularly just before last November's General Election?