Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mother to shave head for cancer awareness

September 7, 2010


Karla Knudson, right, is getting her head shaved with 45 other women from around the country who also have kids who had cancer. Annika Kundson, 13, left, had Burkitt’s lymphoma but has been cancer-free for 14 months now.

Karla Knudson, right, is getting her head shaved with 45 other women from around the country who also have kids who had cancer. Annika Kundson, 13, left, had Burkitt’s lymphoma but has been cancer-free for 14 months now.

How to help

The 46 Mommas have a goal to raise $1 million to donate to childhood cancer research, and Knudson’s personal goal is $22,000. She’s at $5,490 now, $3,000 of which she earned Aug. 27 by tweeting about the event.

To donate, visit her page at or call 888-899-BALD (2253).

To find her on Twitter, follow @46mommas or @mamaplug.

Moms to shave heads for cancer fight

A local group is taking its fight with cancer across the country. Moms will shave their heads to help raise money to fight children's cancer, which is diagnosed in 46 children each weekday. Enlarge video

Karla Knudson is about to hop on a plane and fly to Los Angeles to get a haircut. It’s not just any haircut, though. She’s shaving her head completely.

And Knudson’s new look isn’t about fashion, it’s about childhood cancer. Knudson, a 43-year-old Lawrence resident, is shaving her head in honor of her daughter, Annika, who was diagnosed with cancer in February 2009. Annika recovered, but thousands of children don’t, and Knudson wants people to know about it.

As part of 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave, 46 women from all over the country are shaving their heads in Hollywood to raise awareness. They have a goal of raising $1 million to donate to research and appearing on a telethon to help.

“I feel a responsibility to share and awareness I didn’t have myself,” Knudson said. “When you find out your kid has cancer, you don’t have people around who know what you’re talking about.”

Knudson found the women on the Internet, and the group formed a bond. Some had children who were survivors, such as Annika, 13, who was diagnosed with Stage 2 of Burkitt’s lymphoma after her parents thought she had the flu. The early diagnosis of a cancer that usually isn’t detected until Stage 4 meant Annika was declared cancer-free by May 2009.

Other children weren’t so lucky, and some mothers in the group lost their kids.

“That speaks to the randomness of childhood cancer,” Knudson said.

The women in the group, named for the 46 children who are diagnosed with cancer every weekday, found each other over the Internet. It’s the same place Knudson found help when she thought she might not be able to pay for a flight out to Los Angeles.

A Cincinnati woman she’d never met volunteered her frequent flier miles to pay for the trip. That woman, Jamie Landheer, met a family two years ago whose daughter died from neuroblastoma. After becoming close to the family, she knew she had to help.

“As a mom, as a human being, I just can’t sit back and do nothing,” she said.

Landheer earns frequent flyer miles as an executive, and Knudson is now one of about 25 people Landheer has used her miles to help.

“I always say I’m not the hero,” she said. “I just happen to be the person who can, but anybody can do a little bit.”

Knudson flies out to Los Angeles early today, and by evening, she’ll be a bald-headed beauty. It’s an idea her daughter was not OK with at first.

“At first she said, ‘I don’t approve of that,’” Knudson said. “And I said, ‘Well, I didn’t approve of you being bald.’”

Three days after shaving her head with 45 other women in Hollywood, they will appear on the Stand Up 2 Cancer telethon. The telethon will air at 7 p.m. Friday on several networks, including CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox.

Knudson admits she’s surprised she plans to shave her head, and the idea of raising thousands of dollars is daunting. But she knows the cause is important, and having her daughter, son and husband healthy is priceless.

“It does make you realize when stuff gets harder, it could be so much harder,” she said. “All I want is to keep holding my kids’ hands and my husband’s hands.”


AnnaUndercover 7 years, 3 months ago

Go, Karla, go! We're cheering for you at home!

dagger707 7 years, 3 months ago

(((hugs))) I'm so honor to have gotten to know you an your family Karla. I can't wait to see you an your beautiful head!!!

dontsheep 7 years, 3 months ago

My intent here is not to upset, but to help.

The cure for cancer was discovered 80 years ago. The 1931 Nobel prize in medicine was awarded to Dr. Otto Warburg for his discovery of the respiration process utilized by cancer. He took healthy cells, put them in a chamber and began decreasing the level of oxygen the received. At around 60% less oxygen than normal they became malignant and cancerous. He turned the oxygen back up and they became healthy again.

Cancer cannot survive in an oxygen rich environment. Unfortunately, most of us do all we can to decrease the oxygen level in our blood by eating and drinking acidic, oxygen depleting foods.

While I respect and feel for these Moms, and millions of other families dealing with Cancer, more $$ and research time is a waste. To beat cancer we must change our internal terrain. Pills, medicines, radiation and surgery only delay, and in many cases, make the terrain even worse. We must wake up and educate ourselves on the body's natural ability to heal when helped.

We must also stop falling for the emotional marketing the companies who produce the crap we eat leverage. Pink ribbons on diet soda, buckets of fried chicken and processed foods don't make them any better. If we were supposed to eat pink packaged goods, they'd be in the produce section. In the same way, millions of more dollars won't get us to a "medical" cure any faster than the $2T already spent. We need to stop giving them our time, our money, our hope and our lives.

KarlaKnudson 7 years, 3 months ago

I appreciate your information. But, i'm not going to sit back and wait for the rest of the world to catch up with Dr. Warburg. I'm going to keep raising my voice. Unfortunately children are often diagnosed with cancer BEFORE they have had time to live oxygen depleting lifestyles. Unlike most adult cancers, we don't know enough about what causes them, or how to treat them. Cancer is multi-facted and complicated. I respectfully disagree with your anti-advocacy message. Awareness will lead to funding. Funding will lead to more RESEARCH. Research will help us find better treatments and eventually CUREs. Maybe will be toasting Dr. Warburg sooner, because a few of us kept on fighting... Did I have a conversation with you during the Alex's Lemonade Stand this summer, perhaps?

You are right that we must lead healthier lives, I choose to spread awareness about that, too. gotta jet.... gonna shave my head about 8 hours!

dontsheep 7 years, 3 months ago

Nope. I've never met you. Respectfully, you have it all wrong. The world won't catch up. Money for research will never lead to a cure. It can't. The companies asking for your hard earned money don't want a cure. They want symptom control and a patient on medication longer. That's it.

In 80 years we've found 700+ ways to cause cancer, yet zero to prevent and cure it. We've invested $2T towards research. The foundations and pharmaceutical companies are not out for your good.

Cancer is not complicated. If you have a healthy body, with blood full of oxygen like it's meant to, you can't get cancer. It's impossible.

Your daughter's body, and yours as well, is low on O2. Your pH is off and disease is a natural follow on.

If you want real information that can help your daughter now, and not whenever the world catches up let me know. There is a clinic in Wichita that can help and resources locally as well.

In the meantime, grab a book called "Cancer: Step Outside the Box". There are many others, but that's probably the best and easiest to read. With no kidding plans of action as well.

I wish you the best.

Jonathan Kealing 7 years, 3 months ago

This is junk science at its worst. All available scientific research says, while exercise and other oxygen-enriching activities can lead to generally healthier lives, it doesn't, on it's own, lead to avoiding or treating cancer.

Here's information from Johns Hopkins:

And the American Cancer Society:

The statement that a body "full of oxygen" can't get cancer is ridiculous. Let me point you to world class athletes, like Lance Armstrong, who have battled cancer. Who's body would be more full of oxygen than an endurance athlete?

I'll also point out that Gabe has cited no empirical, scientific research to back up his claims. Don't believe what's he selling.

Twain 7 years, 3 months ago

Gabe's post is dangerous misinformation and I hope no one will take it seriously as an approach to cancer. It begins with a misunderstanding of Otto Warburg's research. Cancer cells do use anaerobic respiration to meet their energy needs, but they will not switch back to normal (nonmalignant cells) when oxygen levels are elevated. ALL cancer is the result of genetics mutations; it is not the result of oxygen deficiency. Furthermore, there is no such thing as "oxygen depleting foods." If a person has normal cardiopulmonary health, the blood is ordinarily 97% saturated with oxygen anyway, and there is nothing you can do (such as changing diet or deep breathing) to significantly increase its oxygen transport.

Bear in mind that when Warburg put forth this hypothesis (1924), and even when he received the Nobel Prize (1931), scientists didn't even know the structure of DNA, much less what a mutation was. Now we know that cancer is caused by mutations in two families of genes called tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes.

Furthermore, we DO have cures for cancer, and their discovery and development stems from this molecular understanding of cancer genes and their effects. I presently have a form of cancer that is going to call for treatment with a drug called imatinib (Gleevec), developed in the late 1990s thanks to that spending on cancer research that Gabe thinks is wasted. My cancer is caused by a mutation in the c-kit gene for a protein called a tyrosine kinase in the cell membrane. The abnormal protein coded by the gene acts like a switch stuck in the on position, causing uncontrolled cell division. Imatinib inhibits this tyrosine kinase and stops the cell division, and is very specific to just two kinds of cancer -- chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (I have the latter).

If I relied on Gabe's advice or on Otto Warburg's theory, I would die. Fortunately for me, Warburg was wrong, cancer is not caused by oxygen deficiency, and the monetary investment in cancer research has produced an effective treatment. I'm in touch with a community of survivors who owe their lives to this drug ... and this story can be repeated for many other forms of cancer. See the latest Newsweek for other examples. The cures are out there, but there is not going to be any one cure for all forms of cancer. We need further research to develop cures for others like the still-deadly pancreatic and esophageal cancers.

Pay no attention to Gabe. Such foolish claptrap could cost you your life.

KansasPerson 7 years, 3 months ago

Excellent and well-written response, Twain. :)

I hope that Gabe will come back and read it, but my fear is that, having dropped his misinformation on this thread, he is off in another direction (see his apple-seeds comment on and will not be returning. It appears that he's pretty much made up his mind about his pseudoscience and is not open to discussion. But thanks for making this a teachable moment for the rest of us -- and best of luck with your treatment.

KarlaKnudson 7 years, 3 months ago

I appreciate your well-informed response! Thanks. Collaboration within the cancer fighting world is essential to bring us closer to more cures. StandUpToCancer leads the way in collaboration. I HOPE that they will create a 'Dream Team' for pediatric oncology as well. Finding less toxic treatments for growing bodies will help all cancer patients. St.Baldrick's Foundation leads the way in funding pediatric oncology grants.

My best to you as you continue the journey!

Kat Christian 7 years, 3 months ago

Good for her and I hope they donate all that hair from those Women to that place where they make wigs for kids who have lost their hair.

Sherry Warren 7 years, 3 months ago

Wow! There really is still some good news out there in dirty laundry land. Way to go Karla! Annika is such a joy and you are a marvel to bring awareness to this issue. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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