High School seniors remember Ari Dougan by shaving their heads

Ari’s brother Aidan hosted an event at Ladue High School to raise money for childhood cancer research

LADUE, Mo. — Today is a good hair day at Ladue High School.

Aidan Dougan, 17, has been growing his hair for two and a half years.

“I had grown it out of 9 inches, or maybe 10 inches,” he said.

But while he’s yet to get his all-important senior shots, he’s about to shave it all off.

“To say I’m proud is such an understatement,” said his mother Lori Zucker.

All of this is part of a fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation that raises money for childhood cancer research. And few know better than Aidan why that research is so important.

Aidan’s sister Ari was one of those rare people who created her own sunshine.

“She was a bubbly, fun person, who always told jokes,” Aidan recalls.

When she was only three, Ari was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops in nerve tissue that usually affects children under the age of five. No one this small should have to go through so much, but it never obscured Ari’s smile.

“From the age of 3 to 11, she was in and out of the hospital,” Zucker said. “Doctors and nurses were her friends and she made the most of her time.”

Parents are supposed to plan their children’s future, they are not supposed to plan funerals. But in November 2017, Ari passed away.

So this day at Ladue High School isn’t about her, it’s about heart.

And while Aidan loves his long locks, something important happens when he shaves it off.

“I would get questions about it and that way I could help spread awareness,” Aidan said.

Some of Aidan’s friends even put aside their vanity to shave their heads in support.

“We think about ourselves a lot, so I think it’s really good to think about someone else for a change,” said 17-year-old Noah Marut, who also had his head shaved.

Less than 4% of the federal cancer research budget goes to childhood cancer.

“So that’s why families like ours love us. We need to raise money to save our children,” Zucker said.

Honor his sister by going a lot higher. A young man who shows us all that bald can be beautiful.

“We can take her lightly and we can take her kindness and since she’s not here to spread it anymore, we can spread it for her,” Zucker said.

Lori and the Dougan’s have also set up a foundation to help children battling cancer called “Spread Ari’s Light” and they have a big fundraising event next month.

If you want to help, go to SpreadArislight.com.

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