Bald is beautiful: St. Baldrick’s shaves heads to end pediatric cancer
The 9th Annual Baltimore Heroes St. Baldrick’s Event encourages you to shave to save lives.
The event, occurring on Sunday, March 19 at Martin’s East at 9000 Pulaski Highway, dares people to go bald in order to raise money and awareness for those bat
tling pediatric cancer and for those fighting for a cure.
Dan Jarkiewicz, the volunteer coordinator for Baltimore Heroes, said that it’s a way for people to show their support and solidarity with the families who have already gone through so much. “It’s something that any
body, at any age, it can be a whole family, or a group of friends, or just one person, can come out and have a great time and leave feeling good and doing good. We are making changes,” he said.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds more in childhood cancer grants than any organization except for the U.S. government. A good chunk of this life-saving money is raised by these head-shaving
events, where people can sponsor their own shavee or donate money to a team.
In fact, Baltimore Heroes has recently achieved their long-term fundraising goal which was raising over $1,000,000 for childhood cancer research during nine events.
“It’s for men, women, children, of all ages. We’ve had kids as young as two and we’ve had people in their 70s. People get inspired and say ‘If you raise 1000, we’ll shave our heads, or eyebrows’”.
The event last year had 167 shavees, over 1,000 in total attendance, and raised over $167,000 for childhood cancer research.
“Worldwide, more than 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, and it remains the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States,” states a release from the organization.
The event will kick-off with an introduction of the seventeen honored local children who have battled cancer and a montage video of the children saying thanks and talking about how cancer treatments have saved their lives. These kids will shave the first heads of the event.
“The kids really are the stars of the show. People get to come in and see these kids and what we’re fighting for and who we’re trying to save and the kids get to see that we’re all there to support them, that we’re with them every step of the way,” he said. “Everybody that I talk to say they leave there feeling full.”
Jarkiewicz has first-hand experience with the patients this program advocates for. His daughter had a rare blood disorder and had to spend 10 months at Johns Hopkins Hospital for a blood transplant. During that time, his family got to know other children that were going through treatment, including some who didn’t make it.
“We do this for them and for the kids that are going to have to fight and the kids that don’t make it,” he said.
Jarkiewicz said he wants the event to have a familyfriendly and fun atmosphere. The ceremonies will include face painting, carnival games, food, prize wheels, a photobooth, and even a green hair dye spraying just in time to St. Patrick’s Day. There will also be a booth where you can enlist yourself on the bone mar
row registry for free. The money raised goes directly to medical research and organizations that help families affected by cancer. St. Baldrick’s even has its own research board that is made up of doctors that read grant proposals from hospitals and see which ones they can help fund. Treatment for cancer survivors, Jarkiewicz said, is an often overlooked expense. Patients often suffer long-term effects from chemotherapy or medical side effects. Money also goes towards helping survivors get back on their feet.
Even if you’re not willing to go bald, supporters are welcomed to cheer on the sha
vees and monetary donations are accepted.
“It’s never too late to shave your head or support someone shaving their head. This is the best hope for these kids to be helped.”
To register for the event or to donate to the cause, visit www.stbaldricks.org/events/bmoreheroes2017.