HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – In a few weeks, state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-16th will hop in his car and drive 19 miles to a firehouse in Sergeantsville for a no-frills haircut that will take no more than a few minutes.
Nothing fancy, no clipping, no styling, and no comb or scissors will be necessary.
Ciattarelli, a township resident, will have his head shaved Sept. 24 to help raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a national charity that raises money for childhood cancer research.
Ciattarelli will join be one of 29 other "shavees" on the Rays of Hope team sponsored by the Sergeantsville Volunteer Fire Company, 761 Sergeantsville Road, Sergeantsvillle, to wait their turn to be shorn, beginning at noon.
“What better cause is there than raising awareness and funding for research into childhood cancer,” Ciattarelli said.
“Childhood cancer and research is a very serious topic, but this is a great way for everybody to have some fun, raise money and awareness,” he added.
This is the fourth year Ciattarelli has participated in the event.
“I will tell you the first time I did it there certainly were some butterflies but after having done it I must admit I’m kind of looking forward to it,” Ciattarelli said.
Ciattarelli and other members of the Rays of Hope team raise money through pledges received on the St. Baldrick’s website - https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/870871/2016.
Ciattarelli’s goal is to raise $2,000.
“Five, ten dollars, whatever people can afford, it all adds up,” Ciattarelli said.
The Sergeantsville event has raised more than $220,000 in five years.
The event is held in honor of Rayanna Marrero, a Sergeantsville resident known as Ray, who succumbed to cancer in 2012 at the age of eight. Sergeantsville is part of Delaware Township, one of 14 municipalities in the 16th Legislative District represented by Ciattarelli.
“This is the least I can do to further that goal and honor the memory of Rayanna Marerro.” Ciattarelli said.
“When you think about it, anyone going through cancer, let alone a child, this is the least we can do,” Ciattarelli continued. “In six, eight weeks, I’ll have a full head of hair, it will grow back; I don’t see this as a sacrifice at all.
“It is a heart-breaking statistic, but every two minutes another family hears the life-changing news that their child has cancer,” Ciattarelli added. “Each year, more than 300,000 children worldwide have their world turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis and find themselves literally fighting for their lives.
“Kids with cancer need our help,” he continued. “Only four percent of federal cancer funding is dedicated to childhood research, and in the last 20 years, only three new drugs have been developed to treat kids with cancer. With grants to the most promising researchers in the field, the goal is to improve detection and treatment options, and to help save young lives.”
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation held the first head-shaving fundraiser in 2000, and more than 1,000 events are scheduled this year. The foundation has provided more than $25 million in grants for childhood cancer research.