More than a hundred people in West Michigan volunteered to shave their heads to raise money in support of research that will benefit children diagnosed with cancer.
The annual event, called St. Baldrick's, was held on Sunday, March 24, at the Byron Center. More than 15 barbers also attended and volunteered their time for charity.
"We have seven families come to the event, all of which who have children who survived cancer, which is more than we could say a couple years ago," stated Pat Schrager, event organizer. "A few of the children that are coming today couldn't."
Support For Children Who Are Fighting Cancer
To raise funds, people volunteer to shave off their heads and a sponsor pledges to pay for each cut. St. Baldrick's was first held in Michigan in 2013 and, since then, organizers have raised millions of dollars for pediatric cancer research.
The national St. Baldrick's Foundation, which was founded in 1999, is one of the largest donors for pediatric cancer research. All money raised from head-shaving events across the United States goes toward helping the children who are affected by the disease.
"In 1978, childhood cancer was a death sentence," added Schrager. "Today, four out of five are saved and hopefully that just continues to get better."
Last year, the St. Baldrick's Foundation was able to raise almost $115,000 for pediatric cancer research. This year, organizers hope to reach $120,000.
Moreover, Steven Strauss who was among the first people to get his hair cut for the charity event said that the effort raises awareness. People who see the shaved heads become interested and involved in the fundraiser themselves.
The St. Baldrick's Foundation is still accepting donations via its website.
Pediatric Cancer In The US
According to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, one of the leading pediatric cancer research charities in the United States, cancer is the number one cause of death among children. An estimated 43 children per day of 15,780 children per year are diagnosed with cancer.
Today, many children diagnosed with cancer survive, but there is still much to be done. Since the 80s, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed to treat pediatric cancer and only 4 percent of the federal government's cancer research funding goes to the study of pediatric cancer.