NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The North Plainfield Firefighters will host their 14th annual family-friendly St. Baldrick’s Day Fundraiser on Saturday, March 18. In addition to raising funds to raise money for and awareness of childhood cancer, this year’s event will include a crayon collection in honor of a young boy who lost his battle with cancer last year.
Each year, hundreds of people gather at the Lincoln Place firehouse as dozens of ‘shavees’ – including men, women, and children from the borough and surrounding communities in Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties – go bald as a symbol and statement of solidarity with children with cancer. Proceeds of this year’s fundraiser, as in previous years, will benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation (http://www.stbaldricks.org), a volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds for lifesaving childhood cancer research.
“It's humbling. We set it up every year and every year we are just blown away by the support we receive,” event organizer and North Plainfield Fire Captain Rob Beattie. “It’s amazing how generous people are.”
The North Plainfield Firefighters held their first St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser in 2004 with just a handful of North Plainfield firefighters and police officers participating. Over the years, the event has become a tradition with proceeds over the past 13 years totaling close to $1 million.
Through donations such as those raised at the North Plainfield Firefighters fundraiser, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds lifesaving research across the globe with nearly $.70 of every $1 raised used to fund clinical trials, fellowships, grants and other research associated with all types of childhood cancers.
“All the money goes directly to funding meaningful science in pursuit of a cure for pediatric cancers as well as treating the long-term side effects and deficiencies and improving the quality of life of those who beat cancer,” Beattie said.
This year, the North Plainfield Firefighters are also expanding their fundraising efforts and will be holding a ‘Clean Crayon Collection’ in honor of Taylor ‘Iron Man’ Barta during its St. Baldrick’s event. Through the collection drive, run by Taylor’s family and the Fighting H.A.R.D. Foundation, the goal is to provide New Jersey hospital with new, germ-free boxed crayons so that they may set up ‘clean crayon stations’ for young patients. Additional information is available at https://www.fightinghardfoundation.org/cleancrayoncollection.
“Taylor, the son of a local firefighter from Middlesex County, passed away last year after a courageous battle with a very rare form of cancer,” said Beattie. “In his honor, his family collects germ-free crayons to be distributed to local hospitals for their pediatric patients.”
The North Plainfield Firefighters 14th Annual St. Baldrick’s Fundraising Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 18 from 1 p.m. until the last head is bald. Registration opens at noon. The event will also include silent auction and guest speakers. Additionally, T-shirts unique to the North Plainfield fundraiser will be available for purchase.
Shavee's and barbers looking to sign up for this year’s event, as well as those interested in making a donation or sponsoring someone who is having their head shaved, can visit https://www.stbaldricks.org/events/NorthPlainfieldFire2017.
Checks, made payable to the ‘St. Baldrick’s Foundation,’ may also be brought to fire headquarters on the day of the event or dropped off to Captain Beattie at the firehouse in a sealed envelope. Online, mailed in or telephone donations will also be accepted for several months after the event.
“Kids battling cancer have this disease through no fault of their own. They battle it so bravely and without self-pity. They just know they don't want to be sick. They fight and fight and it is inspiring. Shaving your head is such an easy thing to do to make a true impact and a big difference,” said Beattie.
For additional information on the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, visit www.StBaldricks.org. You can also follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo.