More than 100 St. Thomas Aquinas students donate hair for wigs for cancer survivors

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Original Post

More than 100 girls at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park got a haircut Friday,  and they did it to donate their hair to cancer survivors.

Year after year, girls at St. Thomas do their hair. They brush it, tie it in bands, and make sure it’s just right. However, it’s not for beauty, but for those who lost their loved ones to cancer.

This is the 11th year for the event, but this year was extra special for one senior.

“It’s just kind of surreal that all of these girls are giving their hair,” said senior Maggie Gould, who last her mother to breast cancer. “It’s a piece of us, and it’s beautiful how all of these girls have the confidence in themselves and others to donate that hair.”

On Friday, Gould stood up in front of hundreds in her schools auditorium to tell them what having a wig meant to her mother.

“The first time my mom lost her hair she was absolutely lost. She had no idea on what to do with her life. Before she lost it she had the most beautiful amazing blonde hair, and now she was just waking up with less and less of it,” Gould said.

She held up a bag of her mother’s hair, telling the crowd that although it may seem “gross,” the hair was so important to her mother that she kept it.

The hair the girls cut has been donated to Missy’s Boutique at KU’s Cancer Center.

“My mom got her wig from there,” Gould said.

She held up her mother’s wig to show the audience how natural it looks.

“It’s actually really nice feeling, and you can’t actually tell it’s a wig because it looks so real from the girls like all of you who are donating their hair,” Gould said.

On Friday, the senior let go of her locks once again so someone like her mom can find confidence again — if just for a while.

Gould stood in front of the crowd and was the first to cut her hair.

“This right here will grow back, and it will be the exact same,” Gould said. “We may not like it for a few weeks or months, but at least it’s not forever.”

More than 100 girls cut their hair together at the ceremony, letting go, knowing that tomorrow it will start to grow again.

“This event here at Aquinas has shaped me as a teenager, and really made me who I am, and I’m so thankful for this, and this school,” Gould said. “It feels good. I feel proud to be my mom’s daughter, and that other people get to use it.”

Over the past 11 years, St. Thomas Aquinas girls donated more than 1,200 ponytails. To be eligible each ponytail must be at least 8 inches long.

KCK couple gives back in lieu of expensive wedding

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Original Post

A KCK couple got married in secret, and instead of a huge venue or long guest list, they’re donating money to charity and are hoping you will do the same.

Margaret Solano was so excited for her wedding day to arrive.

“I’m getting married to my best friend, Hillario Caballero,” she said.

However, no one was aware of their nuptials, not even their children.

“We’re doing it a little different. We’re doing it in secret. Our children don`t know, our family, our friends,” Solano said.

“I’m not a big fan of big weddings. I`m not,” Caballero said. “That was my idea to be something small.”

Instead Caballero and Solano decided to give back.

“We see so much money spent on weddings, and we agree it should be special,” Solano said. “We’ve done some things. It’s going to be special for us today, but we didn’t spend a ton of money.”

Solano got her hair done, bought a dress and a few other things, but the rest the couple gave to charity to share the love.

However, when she tried to pay for her hair, the stylist told her to just share the love instead of billing her.

Chateau Avalon in KCK helped the couple celebrate in luxury, and Custom Limousinedrove them around town in style.

They donated $360 to Band of Angels to send a child to band camp; $200 to Vaughn Trent, a food pantry in Bonner Springs; and $200 to Margaret’s son’s class to benefit foster children.

“We did it right. To me it’s a sign,” Solano said.

When it was time to say their vows, their limo driver and FOX4’s Sherae Honeycutt were the only witnesses.

After Caballero kissed the bride, they spread the love even more by giving candy to clerks at the courthouse and patrons of Tapatio Restaurant where they had their first date.

Then they cut their cake at Bloom Baking Co. in the River Market and shared it with anyone passing by as their guests of honor.

“Make it special. Make it memorable, but don`t spend so much money that when it`s over you have any regrets,” Solano said.

“If everybody gives, a lot of people get something,” Caballero said.

“Share the love. Share the money,” Solano said.

Caballero and Solano want you to keep it going and share the love with someone.

The couple gave FOX4’s Sherae Honeycutt $20 for being a witness in their wedding, and she paid it forward by donating $40 in their names to Jackson County CASA, court appointed special advocates to help abused and neglected kids navigate the courts and adoption processes.

If you are looking for a way to give back, they are always in need of volunteers.

Hundreds of Kansas National Guard members deploy for Kuwait

TOPEKA, Kan. — Original Post

For hundreds of Kansas National Guard troops headed to Kuwait, it was an emotional farewell to friends and family Friday at a ceremony in Topeka.

Many of them have regular jobs, but it’s their job with the the Kansas National Guard that’s taking them more than 7,000 miles from home. The troops are going to be working on Operation Spartan Shield, which targets threats of terrorism and extremism.

“It`s tough. It`s scary,” Brandon Fields said. “It`s my first time going out of the country. I’ve never done that before, so mentally it`s taking a toll on me. But I`m ready for it. I`m ready for it.”

Fields is ready like hundreds of his brothers and sisters in the Kansas National Guard.

“I told myself that I`m going to come back no matter what, and I`m going to do everything I can to make sure everyone who is with me there is safe, and I come back safe as well,” he said.

He wants to make sure he’s coming home to his family, son and girlfriend he’s leaving behind.

“He’s worked hard for it,” Fields’ girlfriend Marissa Ortiz said. “We all knew that this day could come at one point, and it`s good to know that he`s going to be over there supporting the United States, as well as Kansas.”

Fields and Ortiz are both in the National Guard, but only one of them is shipping out to Kuwait.

“I just want her to know that I love her, and I`ll come back safe,” Fields said.

Coming home safely is also a priority for Jacob Stevenson, a husband and father of four.

“I’ve been wanting to deploy for six years, but now that I have a big family it’s kind of harder,” he said.

His wife Missy Stevenson is sad he has to go but knows it’s what he loves to do.

“I’m proud that he smiles when he puts the uniform on,” she said. “He walks straighter. His self confidence goes up, and he’s a part of something bigger, and he knows that.”

Missy Stevenson has one hope for his year long deployment: He makes it home.

“I love her unconditionally, and I love her even though I`m on the other side of the world,” Jacob Stevenson said.

April Fools Day snow is no joke for metro tow truck drivers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Original Post

A slick day on the roads leads to crashes across the metro, and a busy day at work for tow truck drivers.

Driving down the roads you may have seen cars in ditches, or stalled in the middle of the freeway. Multi-car crashes, and rollovers.

“It’s my day off, so I wasn’t really expecting it, but in this profession you’ve got to be ready for it,” said Corey Allen, a tow truck driver for All City Tow in Independence.

For Allen, snow on April Fools Day is no joke.

“It’s just probably going to continue to get worse, and worse throughout the night,” Allen said.

Allen’s been working with All City Tow for some years now, but he sees the same things time and time again.

“Majority of them are the people that are just driving too fast,” Allen said.

Allen says the ice doesn’t discriminate: 4-wheel-drive, small sedans, no one car can escape a slide-off. Including one woman in Kansas City, Missouri.

Her car hit some slush on the side of the road, and slid off into a ditch.

“She said she was coming down the road, she said she wasn’t speeding, but got some of this slush on the side of the road, and down the hill she went. Right into that rock,” Allen said.

While Allen says it didn’t look good he knows it could have been worse.

“If she would have hit those rocks down there, I mean they would have done a significant amount of damage to her car, other than what it`s already done,” Allen said.

So, if you have to go out, Allen says be careful for black ice.

“You’re not expecting to see it. You don’t see it, and once you notice you’ve got it, it’s probably a little too late,” Allen said.

He’s ready for warmer weather, but knows another round of snow could be here next weekend.

“It’s Missouri. I’ll believe it when I see it,” Allen said.

He says the big thing to remember is to watch out for that black ice. So, if you don’t have to go out, you might as well stay home.

Blue Springs officer completes run across state, hands off first pitch to Ofc. Wagstaff at Kauffman Stadium

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Original Post

Officer Keegan Hughes is not only crossing the finish line, but also the baseball mound after running, walking and cycling across the state of Missouri.

The Blue Springs police officer did it all to raise money and bring awareness to fallen first responders.

“This is something special,” Officer Hughes said. “Every day I have had bad points, it s tough, it has been hard.”

Every step is important. They may be difficult, but each one has a purpose.

“We want everyone to remember these families,” Hughes said.

Hughes made the trek to remember the steps his fellow first responders will never take again.

Each day walking for someone lost on duty.

Grant Jansen with the St. Charles Police Department, Blake Synder with the St. Louis County Police Department, Molly Bowden with the Columbia Police Department, James Bava with the Missouri Highway Patrol, Bruce Brit with the Columbia Fire Department, Gary Michael and Christopher Morton with the Clinton Police Department, Terry Foster with the Independence Police Department, Harold Hollingsworth with the Fort Osage Fire Protection District, and Larry Leggio and John Mesh with the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department each had a day of travel that Officer Hughes carried a flag for them.

“It would have been easy just to hang my head but I made a promise to these families and to this community that we were going to do this,” Officer Hughes said.

Nine days, 260 miles, and over half a million steps. FOX4 walked a few with him on March 30.

“We knew it was going to be life changing but this exceeded our expectations,” Hughes said.

His final steps, however, are for Independence Officer Tom Wagstaff who is bound to a wheelchair, and cannot take them himself.

“It will be emotional, seeing Tom Wagstaff throw out that first pitch. That’s closure for a lot of people,” Hughes said.

Just over one year ago, Wagstaff was shot in the head during a burglary call.

This day is a milestone on the mound for Officer Wagstaff, as he throws out the first pitch at Kauffman stadium for the Royals.

“I’m very humbled and grateful to be able to do this,” Wagstaff said.

Officer Hughes closes out his walk across the state by handing off the ball to his longtime friend

“It signifies how far he’s come, and the miracles that happen, and his willpower to get stronger and better every day,” Officer Hughes said.

“He’s like a brother to me. It will be amazing. It will be amazing. I wouldn’t want anyone else to pass me the ball,” Officer Wagstaff said.

When Officer Wagstaff found out he was throwing the first pitch, his physical therapist incorporated it to his exercise to prepare for the big day.

Officer Hughes ran across the state for the non-profit Answering the Call that helps families of first responders in their time of need.

If you would like to know more or find out how you can help, visit their Facebook page here.

Baby goats at Overland Park farm attraction call out sick after getting virus

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Original Post

If you’re planning to take your kids to see the baby goats at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park soon, you might consider postponing your trip.

The goat kids will likely be out sick for a few weeks after some of them caught a virus that could make human kids sick, too.

The park is just days away from its season opening on April 2.

“It’s basically a great learning opportunity for local kids to come and learn about what life was like on a Kansas farm kind of in the frontier days, what it takes to raise chickens and milk a cow,” Overland Park communications assistant Meg Ralph said.

For many kids, their favorite part is feeding the baby goats.

“Getting to bottle feed a goat, a lot of kids, especially around here, don’t have that experience, so it’s kind of a neat once an experience kind of opportunity,” Ralph said.

Unfortunately, some of those baby goats aren’t feeling well. A little less than half of their 65 pygmy goats have “sore mouth.”

“It’s a virus. Just kind of runs it’s course like any virus that a human would get,” Ralph said. “It makes it a little bit hard for them to feed. It kind of puts a little pain in the mouth where the sores can be.”

Ralph said the goats could pass it onto kids, so they have to be careful.

“We’re trying to cut down on any impact that we can on humans, so at this point it will just be staff that will be handling them,” Ralph said.

The park will still be open for kids and families to see the other animals, but these “kids” will need a break.

“Once the farmstead veterinarian has come back through and given them a clean bill of health, that’s when the bottle feeding of the kids would be open,” Ralph said. “That kind of depends on how long it takes them to get the sore mouth and then start feeling better. It could be a few weeks.”

Ralph said the virus works like a cold. They expect all the goats to get it and recover by May.

KU fan goes to grandma’s old Overland Park house during Elite Eight game to fulfill superstition

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Original Post

Some people would do anything to help their team win, but would you knock on a stranger’s door? That’s what one Kansas basketball fan did in Overland Park during Sunday’s Elite Eight game just before overtime.

Andy Schwartz, who owns the home, moved back to the area last year with his 10-year-old dog Bentley. They do most things together, including watch KU games.

“It’s cool. It’s really awesome. I grew up watching them,” Schwartz said. “I know where I was for the 2008 championships. I know where I was watching in 2012.”

Jeff Shull remembers where he watched those games, too — at his grandmother’s house, which just happens to be Schwartz’s house now.

“Anything on a Sunday,” Shull said. “So Elite Eight — that’s why on a Sunday it was here. You’d have every big sporting event like that we would get together here. So it was one of the ones that yeah, you miss all those memories.”

So when he drove past his grandma’s house during that Elite Eight game, he had quite a surprise.

“I saw Andy out here in the full KU get up,” Shull said.

“Jersey, shorts and headband. All the flare,” Schwartz said.

“I kind of joked to my wife — at least he’s a KU fan,” Shull said.

Shull went to watch the game with his wife nearby. As the clock ticked down, with things looking bleak for KU, Shull knew where he needed to be: grandma’s house.

“I saw a car pull up in front of my house, and I thought, ‘That’s kinda weird,'” Schwartz said.

“I asked him, ‘Are you superstitious?’ He said, ‘No, not really.’ I said, ‘OK, here’s the deal,'” Shull said.

“The last two times KU won an Elite Eight game I was in the house, and I’m like, ‘Enough said. Come on in, dude. Let’s watch the game,'” Schwartz said.

So Schwartz and Shull sat on the couch in awe as KU won the game in the last few moments and made it to the Final Four.

“I’ve heard stories about this in the past,” Schwartz said. “Someone goes to their old childhood home and meets the people, and I never thought I’d be one of those stories. And then sure enough, it happened. It was really cool and really exciting, and made a new friend. So, that’s awesome.”

“To be able to come back and have one last game there or one game there, it really shows how nice of a guy Andy is,” Shull said.

Just remember, next March is only 11 months away.

“I think I’ll call him,” Shull said. “We exchanged numbers. I’ll call him ahead of time. We’ll set it up, but I think I’ll be back here.”

Shull said his grandmother, who passed away, was a huge KU fan. She would be happy to know he got to see one more game in her living room.