St. Baldrick's Foundation: End Childhood Cancer
A lot can happen in three minute: you can listen to a song, watch a video clip or check up on social media. Three minutes may not sound like a significant amount of time, but it is when every three minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. More children are lost to cancer in the United States than any other disease and before they turn 20, about 1 in 300 boys and 1 in 330 girls will have been diagnosed with cancer. These statistics are heart breaking because pediatric cancer is not usually something brought on by the child (i.e. a smoker of 30 years being diagnosed with lung or mouth cancer).
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) – cancer of the blood or bone marrow – is the most common type of childhood cancer. Normally bone marrow makes stem cells that mature into blood cells. When a child is diagnosed with ALL, that means too many stem cells turn into immature white blood cells (lymphoblast) that don't mature into the normal blood cells (lymphocytes), which fight infection by attacking germs and other harmful bacteria, leaving the child susceptible to illness. In the 1950s, almost all children diagnosed with cancer died. However thanks to research, today about 85% of kids with the ALL will live. But for many other types, progress has been limited, and for some kids there is still little hope for a cure.
It is true that more adults are diagnosed with cancer than children. However, on average an adult with cancer loses 15 years of life and the average age of diagnosis is 67. For children, the average number of years lost to cancer is 71 and the average age of diagnosis is 6. Even the term “childhood cancer” is a problem, because it actually means cancers that strike infants, children, teens and young adults. Without cancer, a child has the ability to grow up, get married, have their children, discover something the world has never seen and even find a cure for cancer. However, all types of childhood cancer only receive 4% of federal funding for cancer research in the United States.
These statistics do not cast a particularly bright light of hope, but the St. Baldrick’s Foundation does. St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a pediatric cancer research fund that raises money through donations and shave-a-thons. Every year all over the country, thousands of people raise money to shave their heads bald in honor of the thousands of children diagnosed with cancer and who lose their hair because of treatment, everyday. The St. Baldrick’s mission is to find cures for childhood cancers and to give survivors long and healthy lives. By funding cooperative research through the Children’s Oncology Group, they give kids nationwide access to the very latest in research and clinical trials. They are the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants and thanks to a grant review system that impresses the experts; they fund the very best childhood cancer research.
St. Baldrick's Head-Shaving Events
March 17th, 2000 marked the first St. Baldrick’s event. It was held in a Manhattan pub with a goal of 17 heads shaved to raise $17,000 and resulted in 19 heads shaved and $104,000 raised. But, that was only the beginning. In two short years, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation reached its first one million dollars raised. In 2003, first responders – police officers, EMTs and firefighters – became huge supporters of the foundation. In 2004, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation was officially founded to maximize efforts and within the first year alone, they raised more than 5.3 million dollars which was directly donated to pediatric cancer research. By 2012, the St. Baldrick’s foundation reached its 100 million dollar milestone with record setting fundraising efforts.
St. Baldrick’s events are held worldwide every year in support of finding a cure for childhood cancer and since my discovery of these events in 2009, I have attended at least one event and donated every year to friends and family member shavees, women and men, girls and boys alike.
March 26th, 2013 was the Rowan University St. Baldrick’s event. 50 shavees bravely got up on stage to have their lovely locks shaved to the skin in honor of childhood cancer patients and in memory of those who did not survive. Our event in particular raised over $20,000 in donations and $6,000 of those proceeds came from a single team of 4 extremely brave young women who boldly shaved their heads for the first time.
St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a beautiful organization, run by selfless people and volunteers. Every year more and more money is raised to fund pediatric cancer research and every year more children survive and enter remission thanks to the efforts of volunteers.
- St. Baldrick's | Help Kids with Cancer | Cure Childhood Cancer
To learn more about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, start and event, become a shavee or donate, feel free to visit their website and remember bald is beautiful.