Det. Claudia Sampson gives hair, heart to support kids with cancer

New Bedford Police Det. Claudia Sampson lost her hair during a battle with cancer in 2010.

 She will lose her hair again June 4 _ but this time willingly, happily and in support of young people fighting a battle she knows all too well.

 Det. Sampson will have her hair shaved during Buzz Off for Kids with Cancer, to be held at Gillette Stadium. Participants have their hair shaved in solidarity with youngsters who lost their hair to cancer.

 The event raises money to help children enjoy the usual childhood treats even as they experience an illness no child should face. Kids with cancer, after all, are still just kids.

Funds raised help with decorating a hospital room, providing art kits and crafts, putting on birthday parties and holiday celebrations and paying for hospital parking, among other things, all aimed at improving life for children fighting cancer and their families.

 Since 2010, 4,890 heads have been shaved, with more than $5.7 million raised and more than 7,000 patients and families assisted.

 Among the better-known participants is Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the New England Patriots, who shaves his head every year to support the event.

 Det. Sampson, a 31-year veteran of the New Bedford Police Department, is a two-time cancer survivor. She battled the disease in 2002 and again in 2010.

 She also lost her mother and brother to the disease.

 Det. Sampson remembers the difficult experience of having to visit her hairdresser to remove her hair after cancer caused it to thin and fall out. She also remembers the heartwarming and inspiring decision by many of her colleagues and friends to shave their own heads in solidarity.

 “I know how important it is to know someone is behind you, supporting you and sending their strength and good wishes,’’ she said.

This is her fourth time at the Buzz Off event. Those registering are asked to raise at least $350. She raised about $1,500 last year.

“It’s a good time and a great way to raise money,’’ she said.

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