When one Merced city councilman shaved his head, 20 other city staff shaved theirs, too

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More than a dozen city leaders and employees shaved their heads in solidarity for one of their own.

Merced city councilman Matthew Serratto has been undergoing chemotherapy since December, a month after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He announced he was shaving his head at Monday’s city council meeting.

“Mr. Conway commented, I’m starting to look like a mangy dog, his quote,” Serratto said with a chuckle at the meeting.

His treatment requires him to go to San Francisco every two weeks. We spoke to him on the phone not long after Wednesday’s treatment.

“The chemo treatment’s gone as well as I could’ve hoped,” he said. “My skin came back clean, that was back in early February.”

His decision to shave came after he began to lose more and more of his hair. To show he wasn’t alone in his battle with cancer, assistant city manager Stephanie Dietz decided to get city staff together to shave their heads in support.

“I knew he was going through treatment in a way that really made him feel alone,” Dietz said. “For me, I wanted him to not have the fear of being the only one to lose his hair.”

Around 20 city employees shaved their heads, according to Dietz. Among them, other city council members, Mayor Mike Murphy and other departments like the Merced Fire Department.

Serratto said this shows how well they work together for the city.

“Nothing’s personal, we move onto the next issue. We’re friends, we like working together,” he said.

Murphy — who has never been bald before — said it was one of the easiest decisions to make.

“Even with all of the issues and policies we deal with as policy makers, there’s a human element to all of this. We’re all friends, colleagues and fellow human beings,” Murphy said.

Serratto said he hopes to be done with his chemotherapy treatments in May.

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