Some of Rhoda Hawkins’ co-workers at the FirstFleet trucking firm used to have lots of hair.
Ten of them demonstrated their support for Hawkins and her fight with breast cancer by shaving their heads. Seven of the men showed up at a work meeting this week without hair, surprising Hawkins.
“It was overwhelming,” she said, choking up during a phone interview. “These men work hard for a living. They’re out in the elements all day long. It touched me that they would take the time to show they care.”
Hawkins, 50, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer on Oct. 4, had a double mastectomy on Oct. 21 and is scheduled to start chemotherapy treatments next week. The treatments will continue for months, she said, and she expects to lose her hair.
The truckers had to get the OK to shave their heads from their wives or girlfriends, said Rob Stone, fleet manager at FirstFleet’s Omaha operation. Some wives wouldn’t sign off on it, Stone said, but the unshorn men still support Hawkins, who does payroll and helps dispatch the drivers.
“They would do anything for her,” Stone said.
FirstFleet has 18 drivers, plus Stone and Hawkins, in its Omaha office.
Mark Bammer, one of the drivers, came to Stone last week and told him the guys needed to do something for Hawkins. “It kind of grew from there,” Stone said.
Bammer said Wednesday that Hawkins had seemed a little worried. “I was thinking of a way that would make it easier on her. I just know that to go through something like that is pretty tough.”
He said his head gets a little cold now, and his face and a spot where he was balding atop his head are darker than the white skin exposed by the shearing. “But I’m not going to complain ... It’ll grow back.”
Hawkins, who lives in Carter Lake with her husband, Randy, said her goal is to continue working during her treatment. “This is how I’m going to spend my winter. Come June, I will be done with chemo. And I’m looking forward to summer.”