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Neighbors: Teen helps others with hair-razing experience

Here's a list of some of Lindsey Shereck's greatest joys: - Her mom and dad, Michelle and Larry Shereck, Wahpeton, N.D. - Her brothers Benjamin, 8, and Curtis, 4. - The family pets, including a dog, two cats and a hamster. - A place on the school...

Lindsey Shereck

Here's a list of some of Lindsey Shereck's greatest joys:

- Her mom and dad, Michelle and Larry Shereck, Wahpeton, N.D.

- Her brothers Benjamin, 8, and Curtis, 4.

- The family pets, including a dog, two cats and a hamster.

- A place on the school honor roll thanks to a straight-A average.

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- And a thick head of hair - although now it is considerably shortened, because she had it cut off to give to people needing wigs due to hair loss through cancer treatments.

Because Lindsey, age 15, is a cancer survivor herself.

Locks of Love

Lindsey was 7 when she was diagnosed as having Hodgkin's lymphoma. She underwent six months of chemotherapy and in the process lost her hair.

That is devastating for most anyone and for a child in particular. Making it worse were the taunts of her schoolmates for being bald.

But Lindsey's school was blessed with a principal who put a stop to the taunts by explaining exactly what was going on here, giving the kids an education they couldn't get from textbooks.

Now Lindsey is in remission. But she's doing more than quietly celebrating. She's doing all she can for others in similar circumstances.

She visits hospitalized children with cancer and shows them her own hair, which grew back naturally and which wows the little ones feeling self-conscious because of their own baldness.

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Then, early last month, Lindsey had a hairdresser cut off 11 inches of her precious and prized hair to be donated to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for cancer victims.

Make-A-Wish

Lindsey and her parents are promoters and cheerleaders for another organization, too: the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

It grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. The Sherecks have firsthand knowledge of it, because it granted Lindsey her big wish back in 1997.

Lindsey loves animals. Just loves 'em. So her wish was to go to the biggest zoo in the world and do what the zoo keepers do.

Make-A-Wish came through, sending Lindsey and her parents to the zoo, Wild Animal Park and Sea World, all at San Diego. There Lindsey lived out her dream: She was allowed to feed and care for many animals, some of which she'd never seen before except on TV.

It left Lindsey with two great desires: to have a career some day in which she could work with animals and, in the meantime, to help other children attain their wishes.

Kids need help

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Early this year, Lindsey and her mom raised funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Dakota for a 4-year-old girl with a malignant abdominal tumor who wanted to go to Disneyworld in Florida.

They did it by sending letters to their family and friends, who sent $1,200 for this child they didn't even know.

Lindsey will be in 10th grade in the fall. There's little doubt she'll keep those grades high.

It's also a certainty she and her family will do all they can for others in need - particularly children dealing with serious illnesses.

This includes promoting Make-A-Wish which has granted 378 wishes in North Dakota alone since its inception in 1985. But many children in the state still have their wishes, still need your help, Michelle says.

The North Dakota chapter phone number is (701) 280-9474, and its Web page is www.ndwish.org .

The Sherecks also want you to know about Locks of Love. Hairdressers have information about it, and it, too, has a web site: www.locksoflove.org .

This story also points up one more thing: Teenagers can make a difference.

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Lindsey Shereck certainly does.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or e-mail rlind@forumcomm.com

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