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Alise Rodney of The Head Shoppe finished shaving Justin Solomon s head after his Piedra Vista baseball teammates took their turns with the clippers.
FARMINGTON — Piedra Vista assistant baseball coach Derek Martin is usually tasked with adding weight to the Panther roster through year-round strength training programs.

But on Sunday, Martin, with the help of Justin Solomon and Alise Rodney, shaved a few pounds off the team.

Solomon was diagnosed with leukemia in July and has since undergone chemotherapy treatments. He began to lose his hair on Wednesday, a side effect of the treatment.

"Justin had a little anxiety about losing his hair," Jenn said. "So when it started to fall out, he wanted to take control of it."

Solomon was the first to go under the clippers. Each boy present took a turn shaving a row of Justin's hair before the professional took over and finished.

Rodney, who works at The Head Shoppe in Farmington, buzzed about 15 heads on Sunday.

"I cut Shane and Margie's (Woodson) hair, and when Shane told me about Justin, when they went to Albuquerque to see him, I told him, When you guys need me, just call me,'" Rodney said.

The Solomons returned to Farmington for a few days after they learned that Justin's treatment would get more intense beginning Monday.

"His treatment is going to go from once to twice in a week to four to five times a week. When we found that out, Justin said, I just want to go home.' We said, get in the car,'" Jenn said.

The Solomons house was undergoing a bit of a facelift when they arrived.


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There were concerns of mold in the Solomon bathroom, which Justin would have been extremely sensitive to because of his condition, so Farmington firefighters Nick Mrzlak and Pat Lovato and Justin's sister Jenna worked until midnight some nights after work to make the bathroom safe.

"We weren't positive that there was mold but there were concerns," Jenn said. "They totally took care of it and really just took such great care of us."

Brady Colbrook, who was the first to shave his head after Justin but wouldn't shave his facial hair (that another player said took him two years to grow) also painted a University of North Carolina logo on Justin's bedroom wall.

Many have learned of the Solomons struggle through the Facebook page Prayers for Justin and have continued to visit the page to read Jenn's updates on Justin's condition.

"It really started as a way for me to let family know what was going on with Justin without having to answer a bunch a different text messages or phone calls," Jenn said. "But it just spread like wildfire and people who have no idea who we are and just cancer awareness people in general are on there, lending their love and the support."

"It really went from our journey as a family to OUR journey as a community."

"People have really taken a stake in it," Justin's father Jason said. "They are almost desperate to help. We are so well taken care of, asking what can I do? What can I do?' But we are so well taken care of."

Jenn said Sunday was the "best Justin has looked" since being diagnosed.

At Darren and Margie Woodson's home in Farmington on Sunday morning, Justin was just another kid. With close to 20 high school boys piled in the kitchen before the cutting began, Justin was the first to initiate a game of "corn hole" (a bean-bag-toss game that PV assistant coach Rusty Evans called "the original Xbox") but not before being reminded to clean up his plate and throw it away.

Jenn even called out Justin when he made a very normal teenager excuse for why he had walked away from his place in the first place.

The Solomons search for glimpses of normalcy in a tough situation is one reason why Justin is continuing school through a home progam, in hopes of remaining eligible for baseball in the spring.

"We did ask the doctor about baseball and he kind of laughed at us like, Really? You're thinking about baseball right now?'" Jenn said.

Amid the buzz of three sets of clippers and piles of different shades of hair getting bigger and bigger, parents in attendance wondered aloud about the featured roles the bald heads would play in the near future.

"My husband said, So Shane is all going to be bald for Homecoming and senior pictures?'" Margie Woodson said. "I said, No, not just Shane. Many. Several. They are all going to be bald. But who cares?"

Renee Lucero:

rlucero@daily-times.com