Dozens of fellow paramedics, friends, family and well-wishers decided to shave their heads on Nov. 26 in support of Jimmy Schiller, 23, who was recently
Dozens of fellow paramedics, friends, family and well-wishers decided to shave their heads on Nov. 26 in support of Jimmy Schiller, 23, who was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. Money raised at the event, held at AMR headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, went to the Testicular Cancer Foundation. (By Neil Nisperos/Staff)
RANCHO CUCAMONGA - Dozens of people left the American Medical Response dispatch center on Monday night with bald heads.

They shaved their heads to show solidarity with their friend Jimmy Schiller.

Schiller, 23, a paramedic who has been with medical transportation service for the past four years, learned in October he had stage 3 testicular cancer. The cancer has spread to other parts of Schiller's body and he's undergoing chemotherapy.

Several friends initially wanted to shave their heads to show their support for Schiller, but a Facebook page drummed up interest in his situation and led to Monday's fundraising event for the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation.

About 150 people attended the event, including 50 people who elected to shave their heads. Volunteer hair stylists cut the hair in a room at the dispatch center.

"I feel the love that's for sure," Schiller said. "It's kind of overwhelming."

AMR paramedic Kent Meeker, who helped coordinate the event, said many attendees were from the local emergency response and firefighting community.

"I actually sat with him in the ER when he was diagnosed and when he started the chemo about three weeks ago. His hair started falling out, so in support of him, we're all (going to) shave our heads, just a couple of guys to let him know he wasn't alone," Meeker said.

"Instead, it turned into this whole thing to raise money for the testicular cancer foundation, and it's turned into a lot more of a showing than we actually expected it to be."

Meeker said the event raised about $1,640 for the foundation.

"We were basically blown away with how many people came out and with the number of fire stations that came out and supported him," Meeker said.

AMR dispatcher Sue Beatty was apparently the lone female to have shaved her head.

But, for Beatty, a breast cancer survivor, it wasn't her first time being bald.

"He's just a very good friend and a wonderful co-worker," Beatty said.

"I'm a breast cancer survivor so I lost my hair before. Hair is just hair, so when he had said he was going to be shaving his hair and if anybody wanted to do it with him, I didn't hesitate."

Schiller, who grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, attended Alta Loma High School and became a paramedic in 2010. He started working as an emergency medical technician in 2008.

Schiller is engaged and the father of a 3-week-old infant.

His mother, Jennifer Schiller, said her son gets up in the middle of the night to care for the baby despite his battle with cancer.

About 8,500 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer annually in the United States and 350 die from the disease, according to the testicular cancer society.

Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable cancers, especially if caught early.

In early stages, the survival rate is almost 100 percent, but the rate lowers to 80 percent if discovered later, according to the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation.

Information about symptoms, self-examination and donations can be found at testicularcancerawarenessfoundation.org.


Reach Neil via email, call him at 909-483-9356, or find him on Twitter @RanchoNow.