By Jennika Baines
Sun Associate Editor
It was a cold and desolate Sunday morning in Syracuse’s Armory Square, but in Kitty Hoyne’s Pub the crowd was really letting their hair down.
Hundreds participated in the annual St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser on March 27 to find a cure for childhood cancer.
Participants, including many women and young girls, shaved their heads to raise money. Not only is it a fun idea, it also shows solidarity with children who lose their hair to chemotherapy.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the largest volunteer-led fundraising program for childhood cancer research. To date, the organization has raised over $17 million. According to the organization’s web site, St. Baldrick’s provides more funds for childhood cancer research than any other organization except the U.S. government.
A number of Catholic schools and members of parishes were involved, including Bishop’s Academy at Most Holy Rosary, Bishop Grimes Prep, Holy Family School and Holy Cross School.
Many of the fundraising groups came up with silly names like “The Bald and the Beautiful” or “The Lockless Monsters.”
Most Holy Rosary went with the name “The Yankee Clippers.” Five students from the school took part. Together, the group raised around $8,000.
“We’ve been telling all the parents to make sure that this is an educational experience as well so the kids realize that they’re raising money for a reason, and that reason is to help fight cancer,” said Tim Gaughan, the team organizer for Most Holy Rosary.
Gaughan’s son Michael, 7, is a second grader at the school. This is his second year participating in the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser, and this year he raised about $1,200.
Michael said it felt weird to have his head shaved. “It felt kind of wet,” he said, “cold and wet.”
Even though he figured it would take about a month for the hair to grow back, Michael said he was proud of himself for doing it. “I did it to help people with cancer,” he said.
Bishop Grimes raised $1,500 for the event with five students coming forward to have their heads shaved for a good cause. Those students were Steve Silkey, Zach Snyder, Kelan Roddy, Michael Roddy and Tim Moran. For some of the students, the event is an annual fundraiser.
“Their understanding is good with this event,” said Claire Downey, director of advancement. “They’re really doing it for the cause.”
Holy Cross school had 14 students, including one girl, on their team. They raised a whopping $14,000.
For third-grader Ben Schultz, this is his fourth year shaving his head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. It doesn’t really hurt, he said. “Well, sometimes the razor will pick up a little piece of hair that, like, sticks to your head so that kinda hurts,” he said.
Ben, his brother Nathan and his father Brian raised $6,005 this year.
Ben said he’s proud of the amount of money he and his team raised, and he knows exactly where it’s going.
“All the money goes to scientists so they can try to find a cure for childhood cancer,” he said.