Brave, bold, and bald: Heights students shave their heads for St. Baldrick’s cancer fundraiser

On Sunday, March 16, from noon to 4 p.m., cancer survivors will gather with their families, classmates, friends, teachers and students from the Heights and neighboring communities at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd., where participants will shave their heads to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

This year’s St. Baldrick’s event is held in honor of three students from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District: Austin Gallagher, a first-grader and two-time survivor of kidney cancer; Becca Meyer, a kindergartener currently battling a brain tumor; and Garrett Gulden, a seventh-grader battling leukemia.

St. Baldrick's is the leading head-shaving foundation in the world and raised more than $34 million dollars last year with the shaving of more than 58,000 heads. The foundation gives more money to pediatric cancer research than any organization except the U.S. government.

Krissy Gallagher, Austin’s mother, began the annual Cleveland Heights St. Baldrick’s event in 2012, to provide kids with an opportunity to experience making a difference in their communities. “They literally give a piece of themselves on behalf of someone else,” Gallagher mused. “It is a powerful—and rare—lesson in empathy for young people.”

The local event raised $37,000 in 2012, $45,000 in 2013, and is on track to blow past its $75,000 goal this year, with $70,000 already raised. So far, 157 participants—including children as young as three, and 18 girls and women—have registered to shave their heads.

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for life-saving childhood cancer research. Since 1999, St. Baldrick’s Foundation has funded more than $127,543,680 in research grants, with more than $1 million going directly to pediatric cancer research conducted at Cleveland’s own Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

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Jenn Lonzer

Jenn Lonzer is a Cleveland Heights resident, mother of two school-aged children, and chief storyteller at i2i Communications Ltd. Her youngest son, a kindergartener at Fairfax Elementary, is participating in the St. Baldricks' event.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:00 AM, 03.13.2014