OSWEGO – Whether you were tracking the growing pile of shorn locks or the thousands of dollars that kept pouring in, by either measure, the 6th annual Oswego St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser was a tremendous success, according to organizer Dan Witmer.
“We are still tallying the cash contributions that came in that night, accepting new contributions on the Web site (http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/337/2012), and following up on other commitments that were made, but the total is definitely approaching the $70,000 mark,” Witmer said.
He added, “We originally set our goal at $25,000, just to play it safe based on last year’s event, but as the donations kept coming in, I kept raising the bar. I finally left the Web site goal at $50,000 on the day of the event, but we reached that before we even shaved the first head.”
Local teams of shavees created a competitive tone to this year’s event, as 16 different groups listed themselves on the Web site. Currently the top three fundraising groups listed are the Oswego Firefighters Association (14 shavees), the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office (13 shavees), and the Oswego Minor Hockey Association (21 shavees).
Together, these three teams raised more than $30,000 while the combined efforts of the firefighters, city, state and county police accounted for nearly 37 percent of the total proceeds.
The jury is still out about who won the competition between the police and fire groups.
A surprise addition to the event occurred when Oswego County Sheriff Reuel “Moe” Todd bowed to the pressure created by an impromptu auction that sprang up.
Almost instantly, the crowd came together and offered $650 for his locks. Within minutes, his hair was on the floor with that of nearly 170 other community members from all walks of life.
“I had come to the event to support my guys,” Sheriff Todd explained. “I know how hard they worked to raise their contribution of nearly $10,000 and how the excitement in the department grew as the event date got closer. In the big picture, the part I played was actually quite small. Everyone did a tremendous job and I was proud to be a part of it.”
Other teams represented the New York State Police, Oswego City Police, Oswego County Administrators (both the Hannibal High School and the G. Ray Bodley High School principals were among the 170 shavees), and Oswego City Schools (including at least three female Oswego High School teachers).
Families touched by cancer also registered their own fundraising teams, including “Bald for Half Price,” “Oswego Fischers,” “RGrandpa,” and “Team Jacob Hadcock.”
Among the many other participants were five teams consisting of 24 student-athletes representing SUNY Oswego’s men’s tennis, lacrosse, soccer, ice hockey, and track and field teams. The men’s lacrosse team led all five Laker teams with approximately $2,000 in donations.
Not everyone participating was part of a team. Nearly 60 individuals also helped support the cause that night and local elementary and middle schools sponsored “hat days,” allowing their students to wear a hat for the day if they made a St. Baldrick’s donation.
“It really was a community effort,” summarized Witmer. “We even had a couple of dozen people show up un-registered asking to join the effort including two young men with skateboards in one hand and one-hundred dollar bills in the other. Everyone contributed to the cause and can feel good about the results.”
The SUNY Oswego Campus Center event’s listing on the St. Baldrick’s Web site currently shows nearly $56,000 was raised. Event organizers explained that money turned in the night of the event and from other sources, including about $2,700 from raffles and auctions, hasn’t been added to that yet.
Preliminary estimates for the amount raised at the Campus Center event from participants throughout the greater Oswego County community are about $70,000.
For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, or to help play a part in conquering childhood cancers, go to www.stbaldricks.com