Co-workers shave heads to support cancer patient

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AIKEN --- When Aiken Public Safety Officer Jacob Pridgen arrived at work a couple of weeks ago ready to begin his 12-hour shift, he walked in on an odd sight -- nine newly bald men.

Aiken Public Safety Officer Jacob Pridgen stands surrounded by co-workers. His fellow officers shaved their head in support of Pridgen, who has been receiving chemotherapy treatments for cancer.  Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Aiken Public Safety Officer Jacob Pridgen stands surrounded by co-workers. His fellow officers shaved their head in support of Pridgen, who has been receiving chemotherapy treatments for cancer.

The men in his shift, with whom he worked grueling hours 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., had shaved their heads to show their support for Office Pridgen, who was diagnosed with cancer on Jan. 23.

The Saturday before Easter, the rookie officer shaved his head because his chemotherapy treatments, which he began the first week of March, were causing his hair to fall out.

When Lt. Ted Umstead heard about it, he decided to call others in his shift to see if they would be interested in shaving their heads in a show of solidarity.

"Everybody was pretty much on board," he said.

Officer Pridgen laughed and said he thought his coworkers were nuts. "I feel sorry for them." But he admitted that knowing they support him "feels good. It's actually kind of cool."

Officer Pridgen has been with the department for three years -- the first two years as a cadet. After less than a year on active duty with the department, he learned that he had testicular cancer. Doctors were able to remove the tumor and began treatment.

Officer Pridgen goes for the treatments Monday through Friday of every third week. He has two week-long treatments left.

"Life's a team sport. As long as you know you've got friends and family standing behind you, hopefully, it makes it a little easier for him," Lt. Umstead said.

Despite the difficult year, Officer Pridgen is upbeat and optimistic. He said his doctors have told him there is a 95 percent cure rate.

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com.

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soldout
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soldout 04/13/08 - 10:24 pm
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If he would get a NAET

If he would get a NAET treatment for the chemo drug he is using his hair would probably stay in and he may not get sick. He also needs a book named " Am I dead yet or do I just feel that way". It gives info on cancer and teeth connection.

my2sense
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my2sense 04/13/08 - 11:16 pm
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this story makes me feel real

this story makes me feel real good! i am proud to be commenting on a positive story for a change. i think everyone can agree that this young mans place of employment sounds like a great place to work. its good to see unity.

Dark Lord
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Dark Lord 04/15/08 - 02:14 pm
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Thats is the best office

Thats is the best office story Ive read all year. I wish all co-workers were that supportive and concerned. Its little things like that , that make all the difference in the world. That young man will fight to the end because he knows he is not alone in his struggle. God Bless and Best Wishes on a speedy recovery.

tonytonytony
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tonytonytony 04/15/08 - 03:30 pm
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Great story and Great group

Great story and Great group of guys. Good luck Officer Pridgen. I hope everything goes well. These guys proved how much they care about you. Class act all around.

usncporet
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usncporet 04/17/08 - 06:28 am
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I miss my military days for

I miss my military days for camaraderie like this. Another reason why I'm proud to have made the CSRA my home - great folks - especially our public servants.

full moon
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full moon 04/19/08 - 02:41 am
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I read this story and have

I read this story and have joined in. I am in Kuwait and really feel good to cut it off. I haven't done something like this in 30 years and would like you to know I will keep it this way during my tour and support the cancer patients in my home and all over the world. Great story Love to all and my God Bless us all

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