St. Baldricks

Reported By: Gabriella Stalter

300,000. That is the number of children, worldwide, who are diagnosed with cancer each year. Two thirds of diagnosed children will suffer long-term effects from treatments. In the United States, alone, more children die of childhood cancer, than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined. Additionally, in the last 20 years, only four new drugs have been approved that were specifically developed to treat childhood cancer. This is due to the National Cancer Institution only dedicating, at most, 4% of their budget to childhood cancer research. However, St. Baldrick’s Foundation has taken it upon themselves to change these statistics.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer and donor powered organization, who fund more grants than any other organization, aside from the U.S. government. The foundation limit the number of their staff and expenses in order to direct every possible dollar to childhood cancer research. They fund supportive care research to improve the quality of life for patients and survivors. They provide hospitals with the funds to open high-impact clinical trials for rare disease types, and they fund researchers to work together to make sure the currently underway research is done by the best and brightest investigators and is shared between institutions and continents. In order to accomplish all of these goals and tasks, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation works closely with leading pediatric oncologists, doctor who specialises in children’s cancer, and they determine the most promising research to fund. Once this is done, they create funding priorities to make the greatest impact for children with cancer.

One way the foundation receives donations is from advertising. Through their online campaigns they are able to randomly get donations throughout the world. The other way they obtain such large donations is through St. Baldrick’s sponsored events. One of these events is happening this weekend in Corning Painted Post High School’s Gymnasium. These events are spread out throughout the year, at various locations, but it only takes place once every year in this specific location. During this event, there are a variety of activities and booths, such as: face painting, photo booth, food tables, raffles, spin the prize wheel, and cornhole. All of these stations are ran by either individual volunteers, local sports teams, and/or sponsoring groups. In addition  to the activities, the main event takes place at 3:30. At 3:30, all the people who are making a donation, through the shaving of their head, take their seats. Their heads are completely shaved in front of the entire gym, to allow recognition for those participating in helping the children’s funds, and they receive a t-shirt for their contribution. All the hair is then taken and sold for money, which then goes straight to the St. Baldrick’s Research Fund. In addition, throughout the day the raffles and donations baskets are traveling around the gym, furthering the donation amount.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is trying to increase the research dedicated to childhood cancers, by obtaining various, annual donations worldwide. The local Rock the Bald event is in the Corning Painted Post High School Gymnasium on March 17th from 12pm to 5pm.

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