No, Virginia. There is no St. Baldrick. Nope, no such saint. But there is a St. Baldrick’s Foundation. And every year, people around the U.S. and in some countries shave their heads to raise awareness and money to fund childhood cancer research.
St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. Its name is a combination of “St. Patrick’s Day” and the word, “bald.” People who shave their heads are known as “Shavees.”
Things sure have changed since the event’s inception on March 17, 2000, at Jim Brady’s Bar and Restaurant in New York City. What began as a challenge between three friends has morphed into the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraiser to benefit childhood cancer research.
Childhood cancer affects thousands of kids and families around the world each year. It’s the #1 disease killer of children in the U.S. The statistics are sobering: Worldwide, a child is diagnosed every three minutes. (Worldwide, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year.) And in the U.S., more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease—more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined.
Approximately 1 in 285 kids in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before they turn 20. What’s particularly tragic is that at the average age of 6, kids will lose 71 years of life to cancer. They won’t grow up, marry or have children of their own.
“I can’t wait for the event!” said Patrick Schrager, who is organizing the March 6 event. This will be his eighth year as a Shavee and his third year running an event. His fundraising goal is $15,000. If you’re interested in making a donation on Schrager’s head, go to St. Baldrick’s website or call 888.899.BALD.
Now you won’t be blindsided when you happen across a bunch of bald folks Sunday, March 6, at 84th Street Pub & Grille (8282 Pfeiffer Farms Dr SW, Byron Center). Au contraire. You’ll know that they stand in solidarity with kids being treated for cancer.