City employee gets buzz cut for good cause — cancer research

July 1, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

NEW — 6 a.m. July 1, 2010

Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers takes a clipper to Emergency Dispatcher Jacqueline Kerness' hair as part of a Wednesday fundraiser for cancer research. By Chantelle Lusebrink

The Eagle Room at City Hall buzzed in anticipation as Emergency Dispatcher Jacqueline Kerness nervously sat down in a chair at the center of the room.

Stepping behind her, poised with a set of buzzing electric clippers, Police Chief Paul Ayers made the first swipe through Kerness’ hair, sending the brown locks to the floor.

“Here we go,” he said, taking a swath of hair from the base of her head. “I think it’s looking good.”

Shedding her hair Wednesday was all for a good cause, though, Kerness said.

Her colleagues bid to take a turn with the clippers, each time raising money for fellow emergency dispatcher, Carma Mathieson, to participate in September’s Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk.

“I have been bountifully blessed with health so, I walk,” Mathieson said. “It takes a huge commitment because it is a lot of time away from my family, but they support me.”

“I’ll do it every year, until cancer is done,” she added

Both of her parents, Francis Bingham, 70, and Helen Bingham, 73, died from cancer within the last 15 years, she said. Her aunt also died of cancer and she said she has had several friends and colleagues — during her 24 years as a city employee — who have been diagnosed with different cancers and have fought the diseases.

“I’m just thankful for the air I breathe and for the support and love I have from my family and my co-workers,” Mathieson said.

Help Mathieson raise the $2,900 to walk in the 3-Day by donating at her participant page at the 3-Day Cancer Walk’s website.

Research for “breast cancer is well funded,” Kerness said. “But I think finding a cure to any cancer is a gateway to finding a cure to others and that is what is important.”

In addition to their auction, the women baked sweet treats for city officials to purchase throughout the day. Among the sugary confections: chocolate-covered pretzels, Rice Krispies Treats, cookies, cupcakes and cakes.

“We have about $400 so far,” Mathieson said.

“Which isn’t bad for just about an hour or so,” Kerness added.

While the buzzing may have been from the clippers, there was no shortage of wisecracks from police officers that wanted to leave Kerness’ hair in shapes akin to bad mohawks and mullets.

Despite pleas from the crowd to leave her hair looking like a bad toupee, officer Robert Hendrickson perfected the buzz cut.

“It’s just hair,” she said. “It is such a simple thing to do to benefit someone else.”

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