Meredith, a fourth-grader at Southbury Elementary School in Oswego, was brushing the tangles out of her curls. "She said, 'Oh, I should just shave my head,'" Merrily recalled.
Merrily said she told her daughter that if she was serious, she should check out the St. Baldrick's Foundation website. She didn't think the 10-year-old would really do it.
"She came back and said, 'I want to shave my head,'" Merrily said.
Since December, the determined youngster has been collecting money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising money to fight childhood cancers.
Merrily said Meredith has been going door to door selling St. Baldrick's buttons and "shoulder buddies" to help the cause. Meredith's brother also came up with the idea of leaving a door hanger with a green chocolate coin at each house where no one is home. A note on the door hanger urges residents to "exchange" real money for the chocolate coin by donating to Meredith's cause online.
The "Character Counts" club at Southbury is also pitching in by placing a coin jar in each classroom at the school.
Once a week, the top five classes with the most donations get recognized during announcements, and the overall top fundraising class will get front-row seats when Meredith shaves her head during a March 21 Character Counts assembly.
"Her goal is a lofty $5,000 because she's very optimistic," Merrily said. The enterprising fourth-grader is even passing out business cards with her St. Baldrick's web page information on it, and wears something green to school each day to promote the cause. She's even made a YouTube video to support her efforts.
On her page, Meredith notes that she's been touched by cancer, losing her friend Luke to the disease when he was just 8 years old.
"I am shaving my head because I want to raise money and awareness for kids' cancer," Meredit wrote. "Being a child is supposed to be a fun time, but instead of playing, some kids are worried whether they are going to live another day. I want to raise money to help find a cure for cancer so that children don't have to worry about if there is a tomorrow for them."
So far, Meredith has collected more than $1,000.
The youngster's efforts have impressed organizers at St. Baldrick's. She was recently interviewed by the organization for an article set to post sometime in the next week or so on the St. Baldrick's Foundation website, Merrily said.
How you can helpSouthbury students can continue to contribute to the cause on campus, and community members are invited to donate online via Meredith's St. Baldrick's website.
Donations can also be made by calling 888-899-2253 or downloading a mail-in donation form.