Chelsea Sallese works as a hair stylist in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and has helped shave people’s heads for local fundraisers.
However, she recently found herself going under the clippers for another very special cause, the Kenosha News reported Wednesday.
In June, Chelsea and Anthony Sallese were told their daughter, Ava, who is four-years-old, had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of cancer in which the bone marrow produces too many immature lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell.
Andy Hawbaker, Ava’s biological dad, said he received a call from Chelsea when they took Ava to the doctor because her lips turned blue and she was experiencing stomach problems.
“It sucks, but we’re getting through it,” Andy commented. “Ava’s always happy, so it’s hard to be sad around her.”
Earlier this week it started to become noticeable that Ava was losing her hair. So yesterday we decided to not let…
Chelsea said their community has rallied to help the family through the ordeal with fundraisers at Kaiser’s Pizza, Khroma Nail Salon, Coins Sports Bar, and other places.
“It’s overwhelming,” she noted. “We’re so proud to be a part of not only Kenosha, but the Downtown community.”
Ava goes to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee for treatment a few times a week and even though she knows she is ill, Chelsea said Ava remains upbeat.
“Her spirit is outstanding,” Chelsea noted. “She’s still the same bubbly, goofy girl she always is.”
When her treatments began, Chelsea realized Ava was losing her hair, so with help from friends she had her own head shaved while holding her daughter.
“I’m so blessed that we were able to share this moment together. She is so brave and strong and I couldn’t be more proud to be her mommy,” Chelsea wrote in a Facebook post.
Andy did the same, noting, “It’s the least I could do, I figured.”
Chelsea has voiced her gratitude to the community for its support. Meanwhile, Alison Braver, a fellow stylist with Ruffolo’s Hair Studio, raised more than $5,000.
Chelsea estimated neighbors have raised over $32,000.
“We’re not scared anymore,” she stated. “It’s just going to be a long road.”
As of Friday afternoon, a GoFundMe page created for Ava had raised $19,897 of its $20,000 goal.