Several LSU baseball players shaved their heads to show support for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which took place in September, and for the Hope for Autumn Foundation.
Pitcher and finance junior Eric Walker said Morgan Diggs, the daughter of Hope for Autumn Foundation President Travis Diggs and girlfriend of pitcher and finance senior Matthew Beck, inspired the team's actions.
“She came in town last weekend, and we were small-talking," Walker said. "She was telling us about everything they [Hope for Autumn Foundation] had going on, and she told us that it was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.”
Walker said the team was happy to support the cause.
“We brought it up to the team, and we had some guys who just wanted to go all out and support it,” Walker said. “We had some people who wanted to shave their heads in support, and that’s kind of how it got started.”
Walker said about 18-20 players participated. In a picture posted on Instagram, the players who participated also wore yellow shirts sent to them by Hope for Autumn.
Hope for Autumn Foundation Executive Director Amanda Knerr said this awareness of childhood cancer helps their organization fund research to find cures.
“The more awareness we raise and the more people are aware of organizations like ours that fund research, the more money we can give to research," Knerr said. "We believe that awareness leads to funding, and funding leads to cures.”
The Hope for Autumn Foundation was founded in 2008 when President and Founder Travis Diggs had a crawfish boil in his front yard along with his friend, John Hein, a Louisiana native and LSU alumnus that moved to Alabama after Hurricane Katrina. Diggs was raising money for his friend’s daughter, Autumn, who had childhood cancer.
Eleven years later, the organization continues to provide financial support to families who are battling cancer in the southeast region of the United States.
“When someone is given a childhood cancer diagnosis, often one of the parents has to quit their job, or they can’t go to work, but their bills continue to come,” Knerr said. “We pay mortgages, rent, power bills. We fix cars, we pay for gas, just to help them while the child’s in treatment."
The organization also funds cancer research to find better and safer cures and raises awareness for childhood cancer, the most common disease-related cause of death for children, Knerr said.
The Hope for Autumn Foundation's crawfish boil is now the biggest event the organization hosts, and John Hein still boils the crawfish. Although now, he boils 4,000 pounds every year.
Click here to donate to the Hope for Autumn Foundation.