Hugh Coyle has been enthusiastically raising funds to support pediatric cancer research since he was in the fifth grade.
Since that spring of 2016, Hugh, now in the eighth grade at St. Anne’s School of Annapolis, has shaved his head in a St. Baldrick’s “Brave the Shave” event to support Osteosarcoma research each spring, raising a total of $8,000 for the cause. Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer that affects children, and one which treatment options have not seen any advancement in 30 years.
Hugh and his family have been involved in this annual event since his 17-year old cousin, Olivia, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in 2016. The money raised during “Brave the Shave” goes directly to a 1.5 million dollar research grant to provide new treatments. Dr. Huang, a professor at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Angie Fowler AYA Cancer Institute at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, is leading the research and is to start the first clinical trials using immunotherapy. Dr. Huang was awarded the grant in November 2018 and is already making progress on new treatments.
This past spring, friends of the Coyle family, the Wilsons, started their own fight against Osteosarcoma when their fifth-grade son, Ben, was diagnosed. Hugh added Ben to his list of honorees to raise money for. After the May 5 event, he and his family had raised nearly $3,800 for the Wilson’s Warriors team.
Olivia, now 19, is now doing well, and is a freshman at U.Va. In September Ben Wilson finished a “rigorous treatment consisting of 68 nights in the hospital, 38 days of chemo, 9 blood transfusions, a limb amputation, along with hundreds of pokes and pills,” according to his mother, who congratulated him on Facebook.
Hugh, who says of his charitable actions in honor of his cousin Olivis and family friend Ben “This cancer targets kids and young adults. It could happen to anyone, and if I can help them it’s the right thing to do.”
Hugh’s advice for anyone considering shaving their head to support cancer patients, “Don’t be scared. It grows in better, and . . . just shave your head already!”