There are 512 people walking around today with a sudden loss of hair on their heads—and more than likely they couldn’t be prouder. Saturday hosted the 9th annual St. Baldrick’s event, the biggest one to date.
St. Baldrick’s began on St. Patrick’s Day in 2000, when four Irish reinsurance executives turned their industry party into a head-shaving event to benefit kids with cancer. Back then 20 people vowed to have their heads shaved and raise a goal of $17,000. Little did they know they would raise more than $104,000 in their first year.
“It shows how just four people can truly make a difference,” Laura Wulf, event chairperson said while addressing the crowd.
Now St. Baldrick’s is the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising program for childhood cancer research. According to the St. Baldrick’s website, more than 189,660 volunteers, including more than 17,200 women, have shaved in solidarity with children with cancer at events across the nation. The organization has raised more than $117 million, and the Helen Fitzgerald’s event had raised $1.6 since 2004.
By noon on Saturday, which was before the event had formally begun, the initial goal of $200,000 was surpassed. As of press time $290,210 has been raised by the 59 participating teams and 512 shavees.
Top participants were Mike Cox with $8,006 and Eric Alger with $7,650. Top teams were Shave it Off to the Max at $25,199 and the Radil Clan with $20,390.
A team with a huge visual presence was Team Sadie Girl. Catherine, Sadie’s aunt, said that this was her first year at the St. Baldrick’s event and she also participated in Relay for Life. Sadie was diagnosed in Feb. 2011 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
“Treatments are going well. We’re fighting; it’s been a tough year,” Catherine said.
Hairdressers from approximately 20 local salons volunteered their time throughout the day, shaving heads. Radio personality Guy Phillips from Y98 spoke to each shavee while the clippers were going to work. The Helen’s DJ was cranking tunes to keep a party-like atmosphere.
Dana, Sadie’s cousin, also experienced her first year at the event on Saturday.
“I think it’s awesome—it’s neat,” she said. “It’s amazing how many people came together.”