Cheers, along with a few tears, filled the Denton Central Fire Station on Thursday morning as firefighters shaved their heads during a fundraiser in support of firefighter Michael Bell, who has been diagnosed with a form of brain cancer.
“It was just a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing,” Battalion Chief Charles Goodman said. “I think it’s great, a couple of guys just started shooting e-mails back and forth, and suddenly, we had an event.”
The camaraderie of the Denton Fire Department shined as 83 people committed to shaving their heads — including three women — for the event. The money raised will help Bell cover the cost of his medical care.
Long blond hair was no longer seen as Carey McAdoo, a paramedic with the department for nine years, was the first woman to step up to the chair.
“I did it for him [Bell],” McAdoo said as to why she cut her hair. “I am a little shocked, but feel really good.”
McAdoo raised money from guys in the department in exchange for agreeing to shave her head, Goodman said.
As the morning faded into afternoon, Goodman announced he would donate $1,000 each for any more women who would shave their heads for the cause.
Lisa Parker, who has been with the department nearly 13 years, and Camelia Barnell, an administrative assistant, took Goodman’s offer.
“I’d do anything to put a smile on Bell’s face,” Parker said.
Bell was diagnosed with gliosarcoma brain cancer a little more than a year ago. He has undergone four surgeries, several rounds of radiation and is awaiting the results from his fourth round of chemotherapy.
Gliosarcoma is a relatively rare malignant neoplasm accounting for about 2 percent of all glioblastoma cases, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“I am just amazed,” Bell said during a break from shaving heads. “It’s just an honor they would do this.”
What will the children think when their parents come home with their newly shaven heads?
“My daughters already told me to wear a hat when I pick them up from school today,” said Andy Gomez, a firefighter of 11 years with the department.
The event raised $4,300, officials said.
Bell will celebrate 20 years of service with the fire department as a firefighter/driver/paramedic in January. The only thing Bell has asked for is prayers for his recovery and for his family, according to Fire Chief Ross Chadwick.
Anyone interested in making a donation to help the family with costs of his treatment can do so at the Aubrey branch of DATCU under the name of Michael Bell.