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Our Inspiration: Tim

Tim just turned 18, and that means he gets to start living out his dream as a professional firefighter. Previously, he was a junior firefighter with the Hy-View Fire Department and now is a volunteer firefighter at U-Crest Fire Department. Turning a love of helping people into his career is something Tim can’t wait for, especially now as a cancer survivor.

Tim at Ride finish line

Tim was diagnosed with T-cell leukemia when he was 16 years old. In total, his treatment was supposed to take four years. He had his first round of chemotherapy for 30 days. But the doctors weren’t happy with his progress, so they switched his plan to two more rounds of chemo followed by a bone marrow transplant, which he had on August 16, 2018. He spent 30 days in the hospital afterward.

Thankfully, he was able to go home after those 30 days and then came twice a week to Roswell Park for checkups and different tests. Instead of four years of treatment, he will just have check-ups for the next two years. After 100 days from his transplant, Tim got the best news – he was in remission! 

When he was first diagnosed, he asked that local firefighters send T-shirts to him for strength. What started out as a local initiative quickly spread like wildfire, and Tim was receiving T-shirts from fire departments as far away as Hawaii. 

He even started a Facebook page called Timmy’s Battle to document it all! He is also an active member of the Courage of Carly Fund at Roswell Park where he met his girlfriend at an exercise class.

Tim’s life-changing illness turned him into a super sweet man, according to his mom, Deana. While he had to grow up faster than most, anytime he can do something for someone else, Tim is there to lend a helping hand. 

Tim's Favorite Things

Our Inspiration: Zaida

February 4, 2019, was a very special day for sassy Zaida. Not only was it World Cancer Day, but she also rang the Victory Bell at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center to celebrate the end of her treatment. Her cancer journey was not an easy one.

It took doctors seven months to diagnose Zaida. After months of tests, ER visits and thinking it was a viral infection, she was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma. By the time she received her diagnosis, cancer had taken over the majority of her body. Throughout her torso, Zaida was covered – in her lungs, hips, shoulders, kidneys and spleen. Her treatment included five full cycles of chemotherapy, She would receive chemo the first three days; the fourth day she would get a shot; and then she got a break for two days. Once that was up, she started the cycle all over again.

Zaida

Zaida was a rapid responder to her treatment, and after the second cycle, the majority of her cancer was gone! She was a superstar throughout her entire journey and started exploring the makeup world, experimenting with eyeshadows, lipsticks and more. She was beyond excited to ring the victory bell in February.

Her mom, Brianne, says that Zaida did really, really well with the treatment, and because she had been so bad before, she was like herself all over again once she started receiving chemo. One side effect of her journey has been anxiety and depression, but Zaida is working through it and inspiring others around her, too, especially on her Instagram.

Now, she’s in cosmetology school working hard and pursuing her dreams of becoming a professional makeup artist. No matter what life throws at her, Zaida conquers it all!

“There’s a CAN in cancer because we can beat it!” Zaida Smith
Zaida
Zaida

Zaida's Favorite Things

Our Inspiration: Drake

Drake is a kindhearted teen who loves a good practical joke and a nail-biting scary movie. He wasn’t always like this, though – cancer prevented him from being himself.

Drake’s journey started when he woke up one morning and could not move his arms or legs. Not only were they extremely swollen, but he also had a 103 fever. Doctors believed it was a viral infection, but when his symptoms continued – and got worse – his mom, Debbie, started Googling for answers. She kept getting results for one thing – leukemia. 

 

Drake in hospital bed

On November 17, 2017, Drake went in for an X-ray of his arms. His mom was driving him home when they got the call to come back to the hospital because it was, indeed, leukemia. Drake began his first round of chemotherapy, which was followed by a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, that treatment didn’t work, so he was put on a more intense plan. He spent the next year in the hospital.

Drake was then genetically tested, which came back positive and meant he was at high risk. He was put on a special chemo pill to help with his mutation. He still takes an oral chemo pill to keep him on track, but Drake is back to being a fun-loving jokester who’s always down for a laugh.

November 25, 2019, will be a very special date for Drake as he will be ringing the victory bell at Roswell Park! 

You can continue to follow his story at Drake’s Journey on Facebook. 

Drake's Favorite Things

Our Inspiration: Nya

The fabulous and vibrant Nya is an unstoppable force – and always has been. A dancer at heart, she’s traveled across the country to participate in competitions, showcasing her incredible skills. But that changed in 2013.

Nya had been sick for several weeks and was in and out of doctors’ offices, trying to figure out what was wrong. When her eye started protruding, her parents, Lindsay and Maurice, took her to the ER. What they thought would be a quick visit turned into a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia. This diagnosis, which is actually an adult form of leukemia, meant Nya would have to stay in the hospital for four to six months.

Nya

Her treatment started with 10 days of radiation treatment to her eye, followed by her first round of chemotherapy. These procedures were within days of each other. Because of how harsh the treatment was, Nya needed to be carefully supervised since infection is a huge risk. She also had to spend time recovering in between each chemo treatment. At one point, she spent 42 days straight in the hospital.

Between her third and fourth rounds, Nya developed a fever that sent her body into septic shock. She spent 21 days in a coma. But this determined girl pulled through. She had her final round of chemo and was declared cancer free in 2014.

While cancer stopped her competing in dance for a little while, Nya jumped right back in after her treatment was over. In 2019, she attended  the International Models and Talent Competition and was awarded Pre-Teen Dancer of the Year and first runner-up for the Pre-Teen Actor of the Year!

“She’s talented, but she also has this backstory that you just wouldn’t believe,” her mom says.

Nya also started Nya Noodle Network, where she collects pajamas for sick kids in hospitals. The inspirational Nya is on a mission to change the world – watch out! You may just see her on TV one day.

Nya’s mantra throughout her treatment was “keep smiling,” and it’s something she still uses to this day. She encourages everyone, no matter what they are going through, to do so with a smile on their face.

Nya's Favorite Things

Register today and go Bald for kids like Nya

Our Inspiration: Adriana

Energetic Adriana loves to dance (jazz, ballet and tap, to be exact), play soccer and spend time with animals. But when she was diagnosed with cancer, she had to put these things on hold.

Her cancer journey began on January 7, 2018. Adriana’s mom, Cindy, noticed that the right side of her abdomen was distended, or swollen. After going to urgent care and getting an X-ray, Adriana was sent to the hospital, where she was immediately diagnosed with cancer and admitted while doctors tried to figure out what type of cancer she had. They found spots on her lungs, about 20 of them, which eventually led to the diagnosis of a Wilms tumor on her right kidney. 

Adriana with pet

Adriana received a mediport, which is a device placed under the skin that helps doctors administer medicine, and started chemotherapy while still in the hospital. After one week, she was discharged to go home but kept receiving outpatient chemo for six weeks to help shrink the tumor and the lung nodules.

In February 2018, Adriana underwent major surgery to remove her right kidney. When the doctors analyzed the tumor, they found it to be very aggressive, so they put her on a lengthy and intense chemo treatment. It was also required that Adriana receive 13 radiation treatments to her abdomen, pelvis and lungs. This treatment took her until right after Thanksgiving 2018, when she was declared cancer free!

Adriana rocked and rolled all throughout her treatment. Her mom says she was so strong and pushed her way through. And now, she’s back to doing the things that she loves – running around with her brothers and sisters, playing tag and taking care of her pets, which include two guinea pigs, Ally and Oreo, and a Great Dane named Stanley. She also spends her days coloring, painting and living her best life as a mermaid.

Adriana's Favorite Things

Download to Fundraise – Get the New Bald for Bucks App

Fundraising for Bald for Bucks just got a little bit easier! We’ve got a new mobile app to help our participants fundraise this year.

There are so many cool features that allow you to quickly and efficiently access your dashboard and communicate with donors. With this new app, you can:

  • Monitor your fundraising progress
  • Share your page using social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) or SMS
  • View and manage your donations
  • Update your page with a personalized story and photo
  • Connect with Facebook and start a Facebook Fundraiser
  • Send emails easily by importing your contacts list with just one click

Want to see a tutorial of all these features? Keep scrolling!

The app is available for both Apple and Android devices. It’s easy to get started – here’s how:

  • Visit either the App Store or Google Play Store
  • Download Goin’ Bald for Bucks
  • Once download is complete, log in with your Bald username and password you used at registration

The App’s Capabilities

So what can you do with this fundraising app? A lot! There’s so much to explore and utilize, including the leaderboard, your fundraising progress, thanking donors and more. Take a tour of the app below to help your fundraising even more!

Monitor Your Fundraising Progress

The very first thing you see when you launch the app is your fundraising progress. Here, you can keep track of how close you are to meeting (and exceeding!) your goal. You can also update your goal directly through the app. Click Edit next to your goal on the right hand side of your progress wheel.

 

Share Your Page

Now that you’ve made the commitment to be a fundraiser, it’s time to spread the word to bring in those donations. The app makes it incredibly easy to share your fundraiser on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email and SMS. You can share your fundraising from three different pages:

  • Home (right under your fundraising progress)
  • Donors
  • Page (under your link)

Update Your Personalized Page

Say goodbye to changing your image and story only on a desktop or laptop. Now, you can do both right through the app! To change your image, you can upload a picture directly from your camera roll or a take a picture using the app. Don’t forget to update your story, too! Showcasing why Goin’ Bald matters to you will help donors understand how important this cause is to you.

Once you’re information is all updated, you can customize your Bald fundraising link and view your page.

View and Manage Your Donations

Keep track of your donations all under the Donors tab! You can see who’s donated to your efforts and how much they gave. You’ll be able to thank them right through the app, too.

Additionally, you can opt to be notified via email when you receive a donation! This is a great option to make sure you never miss a chance to say thank you to a donor.

Integrate with Facebook

If you haven’t connected your fundraiser to Facebook, do not worry! Now, you’re able to integrate with Facebook through the app. Head to the home screen and scroll down to the “Fundraise on Facebook” section. Follow the prompts and voilà – another touchpoint for donations! You’re online fundraising dashboard will now be integrated with Facebook and you’ll be able to receive donations through the social media platform.

If you’ve already connected your fundraiser to Facebook, this section will reflect that!

Send Emails Easily to Your Contacts

Have contacts on your phone you’d like to email about your Bald for Bucks fundraiser? The app automatically syncs with your address book. Whether you’re asking for donations, thanking donors or recruiting team members, go over to the Email tab to send updates to your contacts.


The Goin’ Bald for Bucks app make it easy for you to meet and exceed your fundraising goals. Download it today to get started! If you have questions, please feel free to email us at goinbaldforbucks@roswellpark.org.