St. Baldrick’s event raises money, awareness for cancer patients, families who are affected

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation hosts an annual event where volunteers get their heads shaved in order to raise money for childhood cancer research. While finding cures is the ultimate goal, the money also goes to finding ways to prevent the lifelong damage many survivors go through after countless surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. As he has been participating for many years, senior Nate Tufts explains how he first became a participant in the event. 

“I’ve been doing it for 13 years. Believe it or not, I started doing it because my cousin, Ben, and his dad were going to do it and asked if I wanted to so I was like, ‘Yeah sure that seems cool,’ and I just haven’t stopped since then,” Tufts said.

While the foundation itself is worldwide, there are many smaller events hosted for the foundation that is local to people who might be interested in either raising money or actually shaving their heads for awareness. German teacher and Key Club sponsor Candis Carey explains the people who are involved with these events and how much money they hope to raise. 

“One year we raised $70,000 and it would be great if we would be able to get back up to that amount. So far we have raised around $30,000,” Carey said. “Although we try to have the high school Key Club students raise at least $50 for the event, usually the elementary and middle schools raise the most of the money. We just host the event and have volunteers.” 

While there is a large number of Key Club members, they all have a part in the event coming together. Whether it be contacting people to attend the event or coming up with other activities for the people attending, every member has the opportunity to be involved. 

“The students think of games for people to do while waiting. One year we had Irish dancers. One of the students also called Culver’s to ask them to come and do a fundraiser with us. Another student talked to the art club to see if they would do face painting for people there,” Carey said. “We need to request the facilities, set up a date and time with the St. Baldrick’s foundation, assign the students with jobs, like treasurers, and call barbers to ask if they’ll come and volunteer their time.” 

While cancer is present in many people’s lives, there are steps that can be taken to raise awareness or money for research. 

“Almost everyone knows someone who is affected by cancer, and I think when it’s childhood cancer it touches a deeper place in your heart and makes you realize that no one, especially little kids, should die from cancer,” Carey said. “Cancer just unfortunately touches mostly everyone at some point in their life, whether it’s them or a family member or friend.”

Although the students of the Key Club are able to raise money for the foundation, each person who gets their head shaved also has a page through St. Baldrick’s for family and friends to donate money for the cause. Since Tufts has been participating in the event for so long, he has been able to raise a significant amount of money for the foundation.

“I have continued on doing it because it’s just a cool event. We’ve raised money for problems that a lot of people wouldn’t think about on a day-to-day basis, and plus it’s a free haircut,” Tufts said. “I don’t know the exact amount as to how much I have raised in total but I would say roughly $25,000.”

While Tufts has been doing this ever since he first started school, he will be graduating soon, which makes people who know his dedication question whether he will continue on with getting his head shaved or not. 

“I’m not going to stop doing it anytime soon, it’s awesome. I don’t know if they’re going to have an event at whichever college or if I’m going to have to drive back home or what, but I’m definitely not going to stop doing it,” Tufts said. 

While the Key Club already has a big part in the event they host here at the high school, they are hoping to make a bigger impact by becoming more involved. Whether it be by shaving one’s head for awareness or raising money, anyone can make a difference. 

“I would love to have the high schoolers raise more money. Even having some of the teachers and students at the school to offer to shave their head and maybe collect money and the person with the most money would shave their head,” Carey said. “We need to get the publicity out there a little bit more and get the word out.”

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