WEST ORANGE, NJ — The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, is hosting one of its signature head-shaving events at The Shillelagh Club at 648 Prospect Avenue in West Orange on Sept. 14, 2019 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
More than 300,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer every year, and it remains the leading cause of death among children in the United States.
This year, dozens of men, women and children will shave their heads at The Shillelagh Club in solidarity with kids with cancer while hoping to surpass $1 million in donated funds for research, according to volunteer fundraiser organizer Kevin Kinney.
“St. Baldrick’s saw a critical need for pediatric cancer research that was almost completely unfunded,” said Kinney. “Sure, there was decent funding for cancer overall, but [St. Baldrick’s] recognized that pediatric cancers were much different and didn’t respond to traditional treatments.”
Kinney added that although there was some private funding, “there was virtually zero government funding until Congress passed the [Childhood Cancer] STAR Act last year.”
But since 2006, West Orange residents of all ages have shaved their heads in order to help raise critical funds for research.
“Every community can and should get behind such a great cause,” said Kinney. “I have consistently seen the West Orange community rise to the challenge to support others in their time of need, and this is no different.
“A good number of residents have been very involved with this charity for many years and the West Orange Shillelagh Club has taken the lead, stepping up to provide a home for the annual event and many other charitable events throughout the year.”
Kinney, who is also a former president of The Shillelagh Club, has been involved with organizing the head-shaving event since the beginning.
“I had donated to the charity previously and just felt I should do more than just write a check,” said Kinney, noting that he became hooked after starting with seven people—including himself—shaving their heads and raising $12,000 for the charity with the help of friends and family within the span of three weeks.
Fast-forward 13 years, more than 600 people have “braved the shave” to help raise more than $950,000 for childhood cancer research. This year, nearly 40 shavees have signed up with more participants expected in the coming days.
Those interested in signing up to become a shavee or who wants to make a donation can do so at The St. Baldrick’s Foundation Event page.
According to a press release from St. Baldrick’s, this year’s event will “once again feature youth athletes, work groups, social organizations and individuals dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancers.”
All residents are encouraged to “come out for a full day of great food, fun and entertainment by several bands, face painters, bagpipers and Irish Step Dancers.”
Admission is free, but there will be a modest charge for food and beverages. There will also be a raffle and silent auction to raise additional funds for the charity.
“Almost 100 percent of everything needed for the event is donated, so that 100 percent of the money collected that day goes directly to St. Baldrick’s,” said Kinney, adding that all the food, beverages, music, entertainment, raffle/auction prizes, etc. is also donated for the event. “We are always in need of and welcome additional donations in any of those categories. St. Baldrick’s is a 501©3 charitable organization, so donations are tax deductible.”
Local businesses are also encouraged to donate food, beverages and products or services for the raffle and auction or to act as financial sponsors of the charity.
According to Kinney, who has found supporting St. Baldrick’s “extremely rewarding,” the most heartwarming part of it is “seeing the kids that have battled or are still battling cancer return each year for the event”
“While many have survived due in large measure to all the amazing research that has been funded by St. Baldrick’s, many of their friends have not; and this is why it’s so important that we continue the fight,” he said.
For more information about St. Baldrick’s, call 1-888-899-BALD or visit StBaldricks.org.