St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving fundraiser set for March 9

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The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which raises money for childhood cancer research, has set March 9 for its annual head-shaving event at Amalfi’s restaurant in Lawrence Township.

The restaurant is located at 146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road. The in-person head-shaving event starts at 11 a.m. A virtual option is available, also.

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Volunteers – “shavees” – in St. Baldrick’s speak – seek pledges from supporters in exchange for shaving their heads for the fundraiser, which is timed to occur around St. Patrick’s Day in March.

Lawrence Township’s event aims to raise $75,000 in donations for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund childhood cancer research. Lawrence’s head-shaving event, which is in its 17th year, has raised more than $2 million.

More than 130 people – adults and children – had signed up and raised nearly $61,000 toward the $75,000 goal as of Feb. 21. In 2023, shavees raised more than $130,000.

Teams from the Ben Franklin and Lawrenceville elementary schools, the Lawrence Intermediate School, the Lawrence Middle School and Lawrence High School have raised more than $21,000 in pledges thus far.

The Bear Tavern Elementary School and the Timberlane Middle School in neighboring Hopewell Valley Regional School District have raised more than $18,000 in pledges as of Feb. 21. The school principals are former Lawrence Township Public Schools administrators.

Michael McCue, who operates a chiropractic clinic in Lawrence Township and who is among the top fundraisers, organized the first St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event in Lawrence in 2008.

McCue said he had always felt badly for the young children who had lost their hair while they were undergoing treatment for childhood cancers.

So when McCue saw an advertisement for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, he was intrigued – especially by its signature fundraiser, which is a head-shaving event.

“I got involved with St. Baldrick’s because it was, and still is, a unique charity event,” said McCue.

“I loved the fact that it funded childhood cancer research, and that participants shave their heads in solidarity with the kids that lose their hair during treatment,” he said.

As the number of participants in Lawrence has grown over the years, it has really made an impact in awareness to see everyone run around bald around 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. 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.

The man asked his friends what they would do to give back to the community. They agreed to shave their heads to raise money for children with cancer.

The first head-shaving fundraiser was held around St. Patrick’s Day in 2000, giving rise to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

For more information about the fundraiser, visit www.stbaldricks.org.

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