NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Approximately 80 heads were shaved and over $80,000 was raised last weekend for a worthwhile cause.

Nearly 300 people - men, women, and children – gathered March 18 for the North Plainfield Firefighters’ 14th St. Baldrick’s Day Fundraiser held March 18 in fire headquarters, the North Plainfield Firefighters-sponsored event raised over $80,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation (http://www.stbaldricks.org), a volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds for lifesaving childhood cancer research.

"The North Plainfield Firefighter's 14th St. Baldrick's Day Head Shaving Event was a success by all standards. We had an amazing crowd,” said North Plainfield Fire Captain and event organizer Rob Beattie, a ‘shavee’ himself. “We enjoy the participation of so many teams and groups from near and far who come out and participate to support the event and the St. Baldrick's Foundation.”

Sign Up for E-News

Through monies raised at fundraisers like last weekend’s, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds lifesaving research across the world with nearly $.70 of every $1 raised used to fund clinical trials, fellowships, grants and other research associated with all types of childhood cancers.

This year, in addition to raising money for and awareness of childhood cancer, the North Plainfield Firefighters also expanded their fundraising efforts with a ‘Clean Crayon Collection’ in honor of Taylor ‘Iron Man’ Barta. The goal of the collection drive https://www.fightinghardfoundation.org/cleancrayoncollection), an ongoing effort run by Taylor’s family and the Fighting H.A.R.D. Foundation, is to provide New Jersey hospitals with new, germ-free boxed crayons so that they may set up ‘clean crayon stations’ for young patients.

“Our first ever Clean Crayon Collection in honor of Taylor ‘Iron Man’ Barta was successful collecting dozens of boxes of crayons to be distributed to hospitals in our area,” said Beattie.

According to Beattie, the North Plainfield Firefighters-sponsored St. Baldrick's Day Event is one of the longest running events across the non-profit foundation. EMT Robyn Barb, was the top fundraiser from the North Plainfield Fire Department Team, raising $3,515 while New Jersey Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-Somerset), a ‘shavee’ since 2008, raised around $30,000 and was the event’s top fundraiser. His becoming involved a decade ago, the assemblyman has raised approximately $85,000 for St. Baldrick’s.

“The first year, a couple of friends and I decided to do it as a goof but, in the process, we learned about what St. Baldrick’s was all about and how critical their services are to tens of thousands of children,” said Danielsen. “That first year, we heard testimonials from parents and children [affected] and from parents who didn't not have their children anymore. It struck something in my heart and, from that point, I decided it would be an annual thing for me.”

Last August, when his own 16-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, Danielsen experienced first hand the vital role St. Baldrick’s plays. “We actually got to see and receive the benefits of the grants St. Baldricks has been giving out and all they do for Robert Wood Johnson, St. Peter’s and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey,” said the assemblyman, adding, “When your child is diagnosed with cancer it is about the darkest place one can be and I thank God the resources of these grants St. Baldrick’s provides were in place long before my daughter was diagnosed. I thank God for all those thousands of people who support St. Baldrick’s.”

The 2017 fundraiser also included special honorees and guest speakers, including Richard Drachtman, MD, clinical section chief and medical director of pediatric hematology/oncology for the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Greg and Robin Hoyt, founders of the Team Campbell Foundation. A non-profit which, like St. Baldrick’s, works to raise money to fund pediatric oncology research. Based in Bernardsville, the foundation was founded by the Hoyts in memory of their daughter Campbell who, at the age of 8, lost her battle to cancer.

Additionally, joining members of the North Plainfield’s fire, emergency service and police departments for this year’s St. Baldrick’s fundraiser were supporters from, Franklin Township Fire District 1, Green Brook Fire EMS, Monroe Township Firefighters IAFF 3170, Perth Amboy IAFF Local 286 and the Mount Bethel Fire Department in Warren along with individuals from the Woodbridge Township Fire Department. Long Hill Police Department and Edison Public Schools.

"We enjoy the participation of some many teams and groups from near and far who come out and participate or support the event and the St. Baldrick's Foundation,” said Beattie.

Donations for the North Plainfield Firefighters 14th Annual St. Baldrick’s Day Fundraiser are still being accepted. Donations can be made online at https://www.stbaldricks.org/events/NorthPlainfieldFire2017 or by check, payable to the ‘St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Checks should be placed in a sealed envelope, marked to Captain Rob Beattie’s attention, and dropped off at the North Plainfield Fire Department on Lincoln Place. For additional information on the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, visit www.StBaldricks.org.

"Our event couldn't happen without our amazing volunteers; shavees, barbers and event staff and, of course our gracious hosts, the North Plainfield Fire Department and the Borough of North Plainfield,” said Beattie. “IAFF Local 2983 and IAFF Local 2958 sponsor the event every year and North Plainfield Police & Public Works provide support as well.”

Beattie added, "We are excited to continue our North Plainfield tradition with our 15th event in 2018."

TAPinto North Plainfield, Green Brook and Watchung is free and published daily; sign up to get all the news as it happens at www.tapinto.net/enews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TAPintoNPGBW and on Twitter @tapintonpgbw