Clumps of hair fell to the floor of a makeshift stage set up in the Lower Level of the Barone Campus Center on April 7 as students and faculty shaved their heads in support of childhood cancer research for the annual St. Baldrick’s Day event.
This year was the first time that St. Baldrick’s was represented by a club on campus. Previously, St. Baldrick’s was a one-day “Brave the Shave” event, but this year, there were fundraisers held year-round in support of the cause, including a Chipotle fundraiser, Panera Bread fundraiser and a grilled cheese fundraiser. The club, Students for St. Baldrick’s, also holds meetings and makes cards for pediatric cancer patients, according to co-president of the club Giuseppe Chiara ‘18.
Co-President of Students for St. Baldrick’s Brendan Hunt ‘18 said that the goal for the year was to raise $6,000. Even before the “Brave the Shave” event, his goal was surpassed, raising close to $8,000 prior to the event.
The amount raised surpassed that of previous years. Last year, the event raised $4,300 and two years ago, it raised $1,520, reported by an April 29, 2015 Mirror article and an April 20, 2016 Mirror article.
“We made it into a club because we figured we could work on the awareness aspect as well as fundraise more [by] having a bunch of people helping us out,” said Hunt.
Sophomore Robert Stewart, who shaved his head for the occasion, commented on the foundation. “I’ve been shaving my head for this foundation since I was in fifth grade. I’ve always done it in support of kids who don’t have the same opportunities as I do.”
“I support St. Baldrick’s because they are responsible for most of the funding for childhood cancer research,” Stewart continued.
The Fairfield chapter is now up to 100 members, added Hunt.
As reported by Chiara, this year, the club raised a little over $10,600. 47 males and one female, Allison Devaney ’18, shaved their heads. This was an increase from the 28 participants last year, as reported by the April 20, 2016 issue of The Mirror.
“It was just a spontaneous decision,” said Devaney about cutting her hair. “I didn’t know anything about it at first until this year.”
Sophomore Elisa Castelli, who attended the event, said, “I have friends who are donating and who are braving the shave for this event and I wanted to come and support them.”
Chiara further emphasized this point. “It’s such a great cause and such a great event. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation helps raise money for research for childhood cancer,” he said.
To Chiara, this is a very important cause because only four percent of government funding for cancer goes to childhood cancer research, so the St. Baldrick’s Foundation helps to raise a large amount of the funding needed for this research.
The participant who raised the most money was a nine-year-old boy named Owen Parker, who raised $1,642. Parker also shaved his head at the event.
“My cousin Everett’s got brain cancer,” said Parker. “He’s only four … so I decided to help him out.”