Gyro Shack employees shave heads to support co-worker battling cancer

BOISE, ID - A group of employees at a popular Treasure Valley eatery are starting the New Year with new hairstyles. Nearly a dozen workers from The Gyro Shack shaved their heads Tuesday, Jan. 2, to support a longtime cook and friend battling cancer.

“My heart’s pounding,” said Hailey Ackerland, an employee.

When you start the day off with a fresh buzz, the possibilities are endless; but these clean tops are a sign of something deeper. It’s a show of solidarity to a longtime cook at The Gyro Shack, who was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. 

Over the last few weeks, customer donations poured in from across the Treasure Valley and were matched by the business.

“For everybody to come together to support Juan, you know, keep him in our family and in our hearts, it really strikes a chord and it helps me think we’re doing the right thing as business owners,” said Seth Brink, co-owner of The Gyro Shack.

When the fundraiser began, the group of volunteers said both men and women would shave their heads if they raised more than $5,000. So, after collecting nearly $11,000, it was time to brave the shave. 

“You know, I told myself it’s just hair, it’ll grow back,” Ackerland said. “So I was like, if it’s going to help someone else, then why not?” 

And while hairless heads may not be the cure, the group says the camaraderie makes all the difference.

“[I’ll] save on some shampoo and time everyday and I’m glad that we met our goal and surpassed it. It’s awesome,” said Theresa Blessoe, an employee. “It’s a great, great feeling that we are able to help out a family member.”

The buzz cuts didn’t just help a Gyro Shack employee. Two of the women who volunteered to shave their heads had hair long enough to donate. Their ponytails will be sent to Locks of Love on Wednesday, Jan. 3. 

Local hairstylists Teddy Pitkin and Olive McClain donated their time and talents for the cause. 

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