St. Baldrick’s Day Head Shaving Creates a Buzz

Doctors, Nurses and Community Go Bald to Bring Childhood Cancer Cure Closer

March 09, 2007

"It’s hard enough for kids with cancer to deal with being sick, let alone looking sick, too, without their hair."

Lauren Bruckner, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Oncology at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, is just one of 39 faculty, staff and community supporters who will celebrate St. Baldrick’s Day by shaving her head to support children with cancer. The group of “shavees” will turn Johnny’s Irish Pub, 1382 Culver Road, into a barber shop of sorts on Wednesday night, March 14.

St. Baldrick’s Day, first held in Manhattan in March 2000, is a fake holiday with a lot of heart – not to mention, a lot of fundraising power.

“It’s hard enough for kids with cancer to deal with being sick, let alone looking sick, too, without their hair,” Bruckner said. “Our job is to sport the same ‘do’, show solidarity with what they’re feeling, and raise a few eyebrows – and awareness – for the support of cancer research.”

To do that, Bruckner and her band of fellow “shavees” are asking friends, family and colleagues to pay to see them shaven. The group hopes to raise $35,000.

Each year, childhood cancer kills more U.S. children than any other disease – more than AIDS, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies combined. In spite, Bruckner says that national funding for childhood cancer research has slipped in recent years, and events like this head-shaving challenge are the exact sort of thing that can help to fill the gap.

With the event still a few days away, Rochester’s own “shavees” have already raised more than $23,000 towards their goal. That puts this year’s attendance and fundraising total leaps and bounds above last year’s, when a team of 10 “shavees” together raised $8,000.

 “That’s not too shabby for a second year event,” said Kara Johnson, the event’s coordinator, who also works as a nurse in the Blood and Marrow Transplant unit at Strong. “What’s really exciting is that six women who are stepping up to the challenge –and you don’t usually see that many women willing to shave it all!”

The shaving begins at 6 p.m.; for more information on St. Baldrick’s Day, the St Baldrick’s Day Foundation, or to get involved by either pledging or shaving, call Kara Johnson at (703) 328-8591 or visit at www.stbaldricks.org.

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Becky Jones
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