Soccer players going bald for charity

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Marissa Tyler isn't afraid of losing her hair — which, she admits, is somewhat usual for a college freshman.

"The way I see it, it's just hair," she said. "It will grow back."

A goalkeeper for the Clark College women's soccer team, Tyler won't be alone when she has her head shaved today at Oaks Park in southeast Portland.

The Portland/Vancouver's St. Baldrick's Event At Oaks Park begins at noon. Among the participants will be Portland Timbers forward and Camas resident Brent Richards, who will have his head shaved to raise funds to support research into childhood cancers.

Tyler is part of Team Sam I Am, a group that was formed to honor Sam Marx, who died in 2009 during his freshman year at Notre Dame. The team so far has raised more than $12,000 for the charity. Members of Team Sam I am include representatives of the Clark County soccer community.

Team Sam I Am include Garen Bedoyan, a Clark County soccer coach who had his head shaved on KGW TV's morning news to help promote the St. Baldrick's Foundation.

The inspiration for Team Sam I am was a 2007 graduate of Evergreen High School, where Sam Marx competed in soccer and cross country for the Plainsmen. He was the valedictorian and the student body president.

Tyler, a Battle Ground High graduate, said she played club soccer with Marx's sister. She learned of this fundraiser from Dave Griffin, a local foot surgeon who is captain for Team Sam I Am.

In only a month, Tyler said she has surprised herself by raising more than $500 in pledges for her haircut. She is particularly surprised that she convinced her father, Wayne, to have his head shaved for the cause.

At first, Marissa didn't plan to have her head shaved. But she changed her mind after meeting some cancer-stricken youngsters at a Team Sam I Am event.

"My friends are supportive, but don't want to shave their heads," she said. "They say, 'Wow, you're so brave to cut your hair off.' I'm not the brave one. It's all the kids fighting cancer who are brave."

Did you know?

• The 10th St. Baldrick's Event at Oaks Park has a goal of raising $250,000 for the charity, which supports research into childhood cancers.

• Saturday's head-shaving event is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. at Oaks Park, 7805 S.E. Oaks Park Way in Portland.

• Donate or learn more: www.stbaldricks.org.