Mike James Takes Part In Cut for a Cure

Mike James had his head shaved for the first time in his life on Tuesday, and afterward he didn't even ask for a mirror. He didn't need to see how he looked; instead, he was picturing his own son's face.

James, a second-year running back and the father of one-year-old Michael James III, was one of 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneer players who took part in the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Fifth Annual Bright House Networks Cut for a Cure Charity Challenge after practice on Tuesday. The goal of the event was to raise $20,000 to add to the nearly $280,000 the Cut for a Cure initiative has generated so far this year and aid in the PCF's efforts to provide medical research, programming and pediatric care for children and their families fighting pediatric cancer and blood disorders.

James was only doing what he hoped others would do if his son ever needed the community's help.

"Being around kids who have had a setback in life, who have had to struggle with an unfortunate disease, it touches my heart very deeply," he said. "Anything I can do to help push them forward, to show them that it's everybody that cares – men, women, adult, children – I want to show them that as much as I can. I have a son and it hits home with me. My son is healthy, thank God, but if he wasn't I would want somebody to show him that we're all here to support him."

A total of 20 Buccaneer staff members also sat down in the makeshift barber chairs in the One Buccaneer Place media studio on Tuesday to submit to the clippers. Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy were among the dozens who adopted the close-shaved look in order to support the cause. Kicker Connor Barth participated for the second year in a row and was pleased to see the young cancer patients who were on hand to help with the buzz cuts, some of whom he remembered from the 2013 event.

"These kids, you see them with the smiles on their faces. My buddy Josh was having a ball over there, and I just want him to know how much the Bucs care about him. It's an inspiration to us, because what we do is nothing compared to what they have to do, what they have to fight for. This is a great cause.

"Like Brian Ford said, they're the real heroes, the kids. They just want to be normal kids and have a normal life, and we just want to show the support we have for them. We want them to know that it's cool to have no hair. I love it – I can just get up and roll out of bed!"

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