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‘Shavees’ ready to go bald for St. Baldrick’s fundraiser

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving fundraiser for childhood cancer research returns to its in-person format March 11 at Amalfi’s Restaurant at 146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road.

The head-shaving event begins at 11 a.m. Barbers and beauticians donate their time to shave volunteers’ heads. Participants also have the option to virtually take part by having their heads shaved at a location of their choice.

This year marks the 16th annual head-shaving event in Lawrence Township – and the first in-person event in three years. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to pivot to a virtual format from 2020 to 2022.

Volunteers – “shavees” in St. Baldrick’s speak – seek pledges from supporters in exchange for shaving their heads to raise money for research for children with cancer. The St. Baldrick’s fundraiser is timed to occur near St. Patrick’s Day.

Lawrence Township’s annual head-shaving fundraiser aims to raise $75,000 in pledges this year, according to www.stbaldrick.org. More than 130 individuals and 12 teams have signed up to allow their heads to be shaved.

The Lawrence Township event, which is among more than 1,100 head-shaving events across the country, has raised more than $1.6 million since its first volunteer’s head was shaved 16 years ago.

Michael McCue organized the first St. Baldrick’s fundraiser in Lawrence Township. He said he always felt badly for the young children who lost their hair while they were undergoing chemotherapy treatment for childhood cancers.

When McCue saw an advertisement for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which raises money for childhood cancer research, he was intrigued by the signature head-shaving event.

“I got involved with St. Baldrick’s because it was – and still is – a unique charity,” said McCue, who organizes the event with his wife, Melissa.

“I loved the fact that it funded childhood cancer research, and that participants shave their heads in solidarity with the children who lose their hair during treatments,” McCue said.

As the number of participants has grown over the years, “it has really made an impact in awareness to see everyone run around bald during the third week of March,” he said.

According to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a child is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes worldwide. In the United States, cancer kills one of every five children who have been diagnosed with the disease.

The most common childhood cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia, according to the foundation. Acute myeloid leukemia is not as common, but it is more difficult to treat.

Other childhood cancers include Ewing’s sarcoma, which is a bone tumor; retinoblastoma, which is a cancer of the retina of the eye; and Wilm’s tumor, which is a kidney cancer.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation and its head-shaving fundraiser grew out of a challenge issued by one successful businessman to his equally successful friends in 1999. He asked them what they would do to give back to the community.

The men agreed to shave their heads to raise money for children with cancer. The first head-shaving event was held around St. Patrick’s Day in 2000, giving rise to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Other local events include:

April 2 – 2-5 p.m. – Tigers Shave for the Brave at Carl A. Fields Center, 58 Prospect Ave., Princeton.

April 28 – 2-5 p.m. – Phi Alpha Delta – The Shave That Saves at The College of New Jersey Brower Student Center Room 225, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing.

For more information, visit www.stbaldricks.org.

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