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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bald on the Ball Field

When Jacque Trost takes the field to kick off the 2015 season for Presentation College, the junior backstop may look a little different to the fans in the stands, and there’s a good reason why.

Trost running the basepaths; after her shave; and showing off her hair growth
On November 15, Trost and five other individuals had their heads shaved as part of a fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a childhood cancer research-funding organization (Editor’s note: JWOS is also a proud supporter of St. Baldrick’s). They raised money for the cause by offering up their hair in exchange for donations.

It’s a cause that hits home with Trost. After a dear friend fiercely battled cancer for two years, fighting through treatments and multiple relapses, before eventually passing away on September 11th, it was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” – “He was my inspiration; he pushed me to continue,” she said. “I was back and forth on shaving my head; it was a big step, but I knew it was what I wanted and needed to do.”

A lifelong athlete, Trost started playing baseball with the boys at age seven. She played as long as she could, until a “girls don’t play baseball” rule forced her over to softball at age fifteen. She played travel ball for three years, but it looked like that might be it for her career when she started college, when her college of choice didn’t sponsor softball. A spring 2013 transfer to PC changed that, and she’s been the veteran backstop for the Saints ever since.
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Brooke Norris is a graduate assistant for the Northern State Wolves, a D2 school also based out of Aberdeen. A former member of the Presentation coaching staff & a good friend of Trost’s, she was on board from the get-go: “Jacque said ‘I’m gonna shave’ right away, and she told me ‘I want you to do it with me’. I was like ‘OK, yeah!’”
Norris in-action for the Wolves; post-shave; and present day

Though her voice agreed immediately, it took a while for Norris to fully come around to the idea of going bald. Ultimately, as with Trost, it was a personal experience with the disease that was the deciding factor. “An old friend that I played ball with when I was younger was diagnosed with cancer, and she’s one of the strongest people I know,” says Norris. “It was my way of showing that I respected her and was there for her. And it was for a really good cause and I felt that it was something I should do.”

In addition to helping out a good cause, Norris says she benefitted personally from taking part in the fundraiser, as well. “The event brought a lot of people together and I enjoy that, and especially with shaving my head, I feel a lot closer to those who also shaved. Some people I didn’t know, some I knew. When you’re up there doing it together, it kind of brings you together. That’s something that draws me to it.”

Something overlooked in the hubbub of such an event could be the frequent single-digit or sub-zero temperatures. But decided the lack of added warmth a full head of hair provides in the frigid winter, both Trost and Norris say they wouldn’t change a thing. “No regrets, not all,” Trost says. “I don’t have one regret for shaving my head.”


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Not to be lost in the midst of flying hair and shiny heads are the contributions of Courtney Kennedy, who Trost credits with the majority of the planning and execution of the event. A junior volleyball player & Trost’s roommate at Presentation, Kennedy captained the Saints Softball “team” for the event and was listed as the event contact. And as with her two friends, it was a personal experience with the disease that inspired her to get involved.

“My brother had cancer when he was four, so we know what it was like to be on the patient side,” she said. “We always said we would donate blood and all that, because people did it for us. The volleyball team at PC does something for the community every year – like March of Dimes and Make-a-Wish.”

Kennedy says her goal for the event is simple: “I would like to honestly make a difference in a family’s life,” she told me. “We want to be that team that the family bonds with… let them know that they’re not fighting alone.”

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After a successful event, both Trost and Norris are seeing their hair grow in quite rapidly. Norris says she hopes to have a “styleable” ‘do by mid-February, but neither expects to keep their hair for long. “I’m planning on doing both [in 2015],” says Trost. “Like I did this year, organizing and shaving my head.” 

Norris has a bit of different philosophy, but she expects a bald head to recur in her future: “I think I want to try growing it long enough to donate, but I’ll definitely shave again,” she said.

The online fundraising link for the Saints Softball team is still active, and if you’ve got a mind to throw a donation their way, you can do so by clicking here.

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