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Couple shaving heads for cancer center fundraiser

November 04, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

Washington County Hospital employees can expect to find one of their colleagues much balder next week.

Dr. Michael Horn, an anesthesiologist at the hospital, has signed up to have his head shaved Sunday as part of a "Be Brave and Shave" fundraiser to benefit the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders of Northern Virginia, which is part of Children's National Medical Center.

Horn, who divides his time between homes in Silver Spring, Md., and Hagerstown, said he agreed to participate to support his wife, Dr. Marianna Horn, a pediatric oncologist with the center, who will also be getting her head shaved.

"I wasn't going to let her go around for the next six months alone like that," Michael Horn said. "I said, 'If you're doing it, I'll do it.'"

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As of Wednesday night, the couple had raised almost $14,000 in donations through their online fundraising page.

Funds raised through the event will support the cancer program's goal of becoming a Comprehensive Cancer Center for the region, Marianna Horn said. To become a comprehensive center, the program will need to strengthen its research program and increase its supportive care services, such as social work, education specialists and therapists, she said.

"The vision is that we not only provide the most up-to-date chemotherapy and immunotherapy agents, but also the supportive care that these kids need and all the supports that their families need ... and of course to move forward the research in the region for curing children with cancer so hopefully one day we're at the 100 percent cure rate," Marianna Horn said.

Between the head-shaving event and a "Festival of Heroes" dinner Nov. 14, the center hopes to raise close to $500,000, she said.

More than 100 firefighters, police officers and rescue workers have signed up to have their heads shaved Sunday, along with "just a few of us crazy docs," Marianna Horn said.

Marianna Horn said she hopes shaving her head will show her support for her young cancer patients, who show tremendous courage in the face of the hair loss and other physical changes that accompany their treatment.

"I'm not a brave person innately, but they have taught me what it is to be brave, so I thought I'd show them that I feel for them and I want to continue to be part of their lives," she said.

Michael Horn said he admires his wife's strength.

"She really puts her heart and soul into these kids," he said. "I know I wouldn't have both the emotional and the time commitment needed, so I'm very, I guess, awed, by what she does."

What you can do



To sponsor the Horns in Children's National Medical Center's "Be Brave and Shave" fundraiser, visit http://www.firstgiving.com/mmhornteam.

For more information on the Festival of Heroes dinner, visit http://festivalofheroes.org/Home_Page.html.

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