North Texas

Roanoke Police and Firefighters Shave Heads for Teen Battling Cancer

In Roanoke, the community is coming together to let a teenager who's battling incurable cancer know he's not fighting alone.

Roanoke police officer Sandy Pettigrew recently decided to cut off all of her hair to support her son, Payton. He's battling esophageal cancer. Sandy Pettigrew said she did it to let Payton know that despite his struggles -- life goes on.

Tuesday, dozens of fellow officers and firefighters in Roanoke did the same. Volunteer hair stylists brought their shears, shaving dozens of heads in a show of support.

"They're here. That means so much," Pettigrew said. "It means they love Payton as much as I do. They're my strength when I'm not so strong."

Payton, 17, was diagnosed with cancer about a year and a half ago. The cancer went into remission, but has since returned.

"It's inspiring to see my mom cut her hair just like me and it grows back," he said. "It doesn't change who you are."

Jennifer Ertle, a Roanoke police dispatcher, decided to shave her head.

"It was not an easy decision, I've never had short hair, but I love this family," she said. "Payton didn't get to decide to lose his hair, and his mom looks gorgeous."

A GoFundMe page has also been established to help Pettigrew with medical expenses while her son battles cancer.

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