By Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Aurora Learned, 4, shared her mom’s lap with her younger brother Friday afternoon, watching as barbers gave her grandfather and her mom a bald new look.

Afterward, the blonde tyke posed with her mom in the courtyard of UC Santa Cruz Engineering Building 2 as her dad looked on and dozens of people applauded and snapped photos. Her mom, Katrina Learned, 35, works at UCSC’s Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative. Despite the loss of her shoulder-length locks, she smiled. She had a lot of reasons to be grateful. Aurora, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at 2 months, is cancer-free.

The Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative has a $2.5 million grant from St. Baldrick’s Foundation to use genomic data to see what drugs used to treat adults might be therapeutic for children. More than 30 people — six of them women — agreed to shave their heads Friday in solidarity to raise money for St. Baldrick’s so more cancer researchers will get the funding they need.

Published by Santa Cruz Sentinel