By Nikki Jones Edwards | Oklahoma County Bar Association Briefcase
[ JUNE 2010 – OKLAHOMA CITY, OK ] – Ray Zschiesche is quiet and unassuming, a father, an activist in the community, and now – a bald lawyer. On March 21 , Ray Zschiesche shaved his head to benefit cancer research. Ray and his team, the Oklahoma County Bar Community Service Committee, appeared at the half time show of the Thunder Alley Roller Girls match against the Amarillo Route 66 Rollergirls and the shaving commenced. The halftime show included one of two St. Baldricks events being held in Oklahoma City.
When Ray learned that a coworker’s nephew, Cooper Barghols, was suffering from cancer, he stepped up to the plate and got involved in the St. Baldrick’s event. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation raises money for research grants to help find a cure for cancer affecting children. The idea is to raise money by people shaving their heads in support of this worthy cause. With their bald heads, St. Baldrick’s shavees became walking symbols of solidarity with kids fighting cancer. The Oklahoma County Community Service Committee Team raised more money than any other team at the event raising $3,500.00, far exceeding the goal of $2,500.00. All in all, Ray was not the only shavee, during the halftime show, more than twenty men and women shaved their heads in support of cancer research.
When Ray’s family was in a serious car accident several months ago, Ray learned firsthand the unspeakable feeling of having a sick child in the hospital. Though you might have never heard Ray speak of his family’s tragedy, Ray’s gesture of helping other sick kids, will have a wide reaching, long term impact. I suspect it is something that will always make his daughter proud. In Ray’s own words (dare I write something like this of him), Ray encouraged all his friends and donors to come out to the roller derby event and mock him as he emerged from the shaving looking like a parakeet, with his smooth head and large beak. I was there, he looked nothing like a parakeet. It actually suits him very well.
Cooper Barghols, the child with cancer in whose honor Ray shaved his head, is a strapping 12 year old little boy. Once a gifted athlete and star football player, now Cooper lives with ALL leukemia, which was diagnosed shortly before his 10th birthday. Cooper and his family live in Tuscon, Arizona and he is the nephew of Steve Barghols and Cathy Campbell. Cooper is in remission, but continues his rigorous chemotherapy regimen. I recently met Cooper and by all accounts, he is an All-American boy. He doesn’t talk about having cancer or allow the disease to stop him from everyday life, but his short life has seen more days in a hospital than on any football field.