And for a father, son duo, the fight is especially personal.
Mark Grimaldi Jr. smiled and laughed as his daughter helped him shave his head for the cause. In 2000, when he was just 17 years old, he lost his mother Sylvia, to breast cancer. Then in 2013, his dad, Mark Grimaldi Sr. was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The father and son sat next to each other on Tuesday as their hair came off, supporting cancer research and patient care programs at Roswell Park.
“This (Roswell Park) is a gem, and it’s right in our backyard, and they are wonderful,” Mark Grimaldi Sr. said.
Six months ago, Mark Sr. got his chance to ring the bell at Roswell. Today he is in remission.
“I just finished a clinical trial last year,” he said. “When they say that research matters, it does, because this clinical trial wasn’t available years ago. It’s been great, in that it’s made me undetectable for six months.”
The Grimaldi’s were just two of about 30 people who shaved or cut their hair inside Roswell’s Research Science Building. Debbie Marshall was in the group. She’s a cervical and uterine cancer survivor, but she said she was in the stylist chair for her sister: Chyrl Marshall. Chryl is currently fighting stage 4 colon cancer.
Many there were doctors, or former patients. All of them have close connections to the disease, and all of them went bald to help find cures for patients in the future.
“It’s for the future too,” Mark Sr. said. “(It’s) for the kids… anybody that’s going to face this sometime in their life.”
“To know that the worst pain you ever feel could be turned into something positive helps me when I talk to other people who lost a parent or are fighting cancer… to use that as motivation to make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Mark Jr. said.
Team Roswell raised $30,000 this year. The Grimaldi’s raised $5,000 of that.