Lottery Director Goes Bald for a Good Cause

Wisconsin Lottery Director Mike Edmonds pledges to shave his head to support American Family Children's HospitalMADISON – The staff of the Wisconsin State Lottery had a little lottery of their own recently – for a chance to shave off the director's hair. With a jackpot like that, more than $300 was raised in minutes. The proceeds, totaling $450, were donated to American Family Children's Hospital

A Unique Jackpot
 
Originally, Mike Edmonds, director of the Wisconsin State Lottery, had pledged to shave his head to celebrate reaching the sales goal at the end of the fiscal year. But that soon changed into a challenge to donate funds to American Family Children's in honor of one-year-old Hayden Blatter.

Hayden, whose mother Kami works for the Wisconsin Lottery, has Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome (or WAS), a rare genetic autoimmune disease that is fatal if not treated. Recently, he became the first WAS patient to undergo a stem cell transplant at American Family Children's.Wisconsin Lottery Director Mike Edmonds after having his head shaved to support American Family Children's Hospital
 
"Hayden was just starting to lose his hair from his chemotherapy," commented Blatter, "so this event was very fitting."

Only 50 handmade tickets were sold with a digitally altered image showing what Edmonds' head would look like bald. The tickets sold quickly, with one lucky person winning the chance to shave Edmonds' hair off. By the afternoon, more than $400 was raised and Edmonds was bald.

"My co-workers have made it possible for me to be with my son when he needs me most, and I'm so grateful for their support," said Blatter.
 
A Challenging Journey
 
Kami and her husband Rick share their family's journey in a blog they started to keep family and friends informed about Hayden's treatment. Their journey began when Hayden was only five months old and was first diagnosed with WAS. The months that followed were full of tests, efforts to find an appropriate bone marrow donor, insurance negotiations, blood draws, medicines, not to mention trying to provide as normal a life as possible for Hayden and his four-year-old sister Abby. But there were many bright moments as well – including a visit from supermodel Cindy Crawford.

Crawford was in Madison as the honorary chair of Kids With Courage IV, a reunion honoring current and former pediatric oncology patients who received care through UW Health's pediatric oncology department. During her visit she toured American Family Children's Hospital and brought gifts to the patients and their siblings.
 
Video; Cindy Crawford visits patients of American Family Children's Hospital Crawford's visit with Hayden and the patients of American Family Children's Hospital

"[Rick and I] have grown up with Cindy as a supermodel, so we were happy to meet and talk with her. The stuffed animals that both Hayden and Abby were given were a hit!" said Blatter.

During the course of Hayden's stay at American Family Children's, the Child Life program provided video phones so he and Abby could see and talk to each other while he is in the hospital. According to Blatter, they are grateful for the program as it has made such a positive difference for the whole family during Hayden's stay.

In late July, Hayden returned home and the Blatters continue to wait to see how Hayden's body will respond to the transplant. They are grateful for the love and support of family, friends and co-workers.

"He has a long road yet, but we have great doctors and nurses that make sure things go well," concluded Blatter, "We are so thankful to have a great hospital so close to our home."
 
 
Pictured: Wisconsin Lottery Director Mike Edmonds with hair (top) and after the head shaving (right).

Date Published: 08/22/2008


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