Vegas Golden Knight Pierre-Edouard Bellemare started his season-opening week by letting breast cancer patients shave his head to raise awareness of the disease. On the 2nd of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Bellemare sat onstage outside T-Mobile Arena as several Comprehensive Cancer Center patients talked one-by-one about their diagnoses and treatment and then took the clippers to shear his thick, dark hair. He then returned the favor, shaving the heads of a few patients who were preparing to start treatment that required it.
(Photos by Christopher Smith)
Bellemare (center) poses with doctors and patients, and American Cancer Society executives, before having his head shaved. Bellemare said the event “puts things in perspective. When I’m going through my day, even the toughest game, in the toughest season, like a loss in the final, it’s nothing compared to what these women go through. It’s humbling.” He said he wanted to support the cause because it was important to his family, particularly his wife, Hannah (at Bellemare's right).
Kelly Trolia has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. A huge Golden Knights fan who estimates that she went to 15-20 games last season, including almost every playoff game, Trolia was extremely excited to meet Bellemare. “I’m not shaving my head,” she said, “but I would have if that’s what it took to meet him!”
CSN Professor Jet Mitchell has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, but has run a half-marathon in all 50 states and never missed a day of teaching. She said, “I’ve stayed quite active through my chemo treatments. I'm one of 155,000 people in the U.S. who live with metastatic cancer, and I’m privileged to be able to promote the message of strength and courage in a difficult time.”
Bellemare said, “It can be a negative thing to shave your head, because that means your treatment is starting and your body is changing. I figured, why not make it a less negative event by shaving my head, too? So that every morning when they see themselves, they can think, ‘Oh, I shaved Bellemare's head.’ And they can focus on their treatments and nothing else.”