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Davis, California

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Foundation to sponsor head shaving to raise cancer awareness

The next bald person you see might be trying to raise cancer awareness. St. Baldrick’s Foundation will be hosting a head-shaving event today at the UC Davis Cancer Center from 5 to 8 p.m.

St. Baldrick’s is a nonprofit organization that raises money for children’s cancer research throughout the year. Participants raise money through donations and shave their heads to raise awareness for children who have cancer and may be going through chemotherapy. This year will be the fifth consecutive year that a St. Baldrick’s event takes place at UC Davis, organized by the Keaton Raphael Memorial.

This is something easy that anyone can do, said Robyn Raphael, founder of the Keaton Raphael Memorial after losing her son to neuroblastoma cancer. Raphael started to organize this event for the UC Davis Cancer Center after shaving her own head back in 2003 for St. Baldrick’s.

Children cancer research has been generally very under-funded…. [Cancer] still is the number one disease killer of our children, and that’s really important in this day and age, she said.

A team called the Bald Chicks will also be participating in this year’s event, including Sharon Raimondo whose 6-year-old son Joey is in his second year of remission from leukemia. Both Raimondo and her husband raised about $5,000 toward this fundraiser and stressed that the foundation’s money goes straight toward cancer research.

There’s not a lot of funding for cancer and I think St. Baldrick’s is the surefire way to go to put a stop to it all, she said.

Raimondo said she saw many families suffer and watched children whom her family got to know pass away while her son was in and out of the hospital.

We don’t want others to go through what we went through…. There’s nothing worse than having your child sick, even your worst nightmare, she said.

This year’s UC Davis event fundraising goal is $225,000, up from last year’s goal of $100,000. As of Mar. 12, 139 shavees and barbers have participated and raised over $65,000. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation itself, from 2000 till 2007, has raised over $34 million total, with the majority of events occurring around St. Patrick’s Day.

The most important aspect is raising community awareness. People in the community are still largely unaware that children get treated for cancer, said Theodore Zwerdling, Joey’s UC Davis Cancer Center physician and a regular shavee participant.

A substantial amount of money has come from the Keaton Raphael Memorial and St. Baldrick’s foundation…. Without those two contributors, we wouldn’t be able to fund our research, Zwerdling said.

The idea is to turn heads and get people to ask questions, Raimondo said. St. Baldrick’s has turned and shaved over 46,000 men’s, women’s and children’s heads since 2000.

Raphael also organizes other events throughout Northern California including one on Mar. 29 at the Roseville Galleria in Roseville, Calif. For more information, go to stbaldricks.org.


ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached campus@californiaaggie.com.XXX


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