Patti Holmes hasn't seen her sister Becky Rizzo in three years.
Separated by distance -- Holmes, 42, lives in Spry; Rizzo, 49, lives in Florida -- and by their busy lives, they have drifted apart physically but stayed in touch.
And Holmes wants to bridge that gap even more.
She wants to show solidarity with her sister, who is struggling with cancer, chemotherapy and medical expenses reaching $75,000. And Saturday, July 13, she will shave off her dark, neck-length hair. Her 10-year-old son Ryan wants to shave his head as well to support his Aunt Becky, she said.
Her sister, who has lost her hair twice during two separate cancers, wasn't crazy about the idea at first.
"At first she tried to talk me out of it," Holmes said. "She said, 'I would not wish this on my worst enemy.'"
But after some contemplation and prayer, she got the OK to go through with it. She's now mentally preparing for the emotional shock wave that comes when a woman loses her hair, she said.
"I got a lot of support, and my focus is for my sister knowing that she's already gone through it twice," she said. "Me just shaving my hair once, it's nothing."
Progress: Holmes started raising funds for her sister, who is struggling with medical costs because her illness is considered a "pre-existing condition," at the end of May.
Rizzo's first struggle was with Hodgkin's lymphoma. She was pregnant at the time.
"That was probably the hardest," Holmes said. "If it wasn't for her daughter, I think she would've given up on life."
Now with breast cancer, a result of the treatments she received during her previous battle, she has finished her chemotherapy treatments and lost her hair.
She will be ready for surgery on July 23, where doctors will finish her double mastectomy and put in tissue expanders.
But support is everything when it comes to fighting cancer, Holmes said. As a result, she has named her
fundraiser Bald 4 Becky's Battle.
"Think of it: In a battle, you don't battle by yourself," she said. "You have a whole unit helping you. We're really helping her through this battle."
Reach out: To make a donation to Rizzo and her family, checks can be made out to H.U.G.S. Charities Inc. with "Bald 4 Becky's Battle" on the memo line. All checks can be mailed to the organization at 3111 S. Pine Ave., Ocala, Fla., 34471. Holmes said she will raise funds as long as donations continue to come in.
Visit www.facebook.com/beckysbattle for updates and more information.
--Reach Mollie Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.