But for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, St. Paddy’s day is spent a little differently. The foundation celebrates the holiday through a head-shaving fundraiser to raise money for children’s cancer research.
St. Baldrick’s raises money all over the country for cancer research, and for a second year, the event took place in West Michigan. This year’s host was the 84th Street Pub and Grille in Byron Center. This year the event raised over $45,ooo!
Pat Schrager of Byron Center is St. Baldrick’s local event coordinator. “This is the seventh year I’ve done it. We were doing it in Indiana where we lived. When we came to Grand Rapids, we were surprised it wasn’t here.”
While shaving your head can certainly be difficult for anyone to face, when it comes to a good cause, most people are up for the challenge.
Bobbi Halas is one of those people. She faced the fear of shaving her head to give to the fundraiser.
“It was the weirdest feeling I’ve ever had and I was scared spitless,” Halas said. “But it’s such a great cause.”
Bobbi, along with many others, came out to show their support for children’s cancer research. Cancer survivor Allison Slagter was impressed.
“It’s really fun watching everyone so eager to shave their heads, because that’s kind of scary if they don’t want to,” Slagter said. “Everyone’s just really eager to donate”.
Schrager explains that the St. Baldrick’s donations are also helping West Michigan local hospitals fund cancer research including the Children’s Oncology Fund, their largest benefactor. “And Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital participates in that,” adds Schrager.
Although the event is only in its second year in West Michigan, Schrager says the number of eager donors is growing.
“As you get people involved and start talking about it, they realize it’s only hair, it grows back,” Schrager said.