OSWEGO, NY – It took Emily Bradshaw nearly her entire life to grow her long brown hair. It took only a few moments for the Kingsford fifth grader’s locks to be shaved off Monday evening.
However, Emily’s unselfish act will give other youngsters a fighting chance at life.
The 10-year-old was one of nearly 80 people taking part in the annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation event in the food court of the Campus Center at SUNY Oswego.
She raised more than her goal of $3,555 to help kids who are suffering from childhood cancer. She had set a goal of $1,500.
Dozens of others also raised funds by volunteering to have their heads shaved at the event.
Taking part in the event were a group of Oswego firefighters, some members of the Oswego Minor Hockey Association, representatives from several SUNY Oswego sports teams, fraternities and sororities. They were joined by a myriad others, including cancer survivors and the principal of G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton.
“With my bald head, I’ll stand in solidarity with kids being treated for cancer. But that’s not the main reason. Most important, I’m doing this to raise money for life-saving research,” she told Oswego County Today back in January when she embarked on her fundraising campaign.
She said she’s heartbroken over the many children who are suffering from childhood cancer and wants to help find a cure.
“She is super excited. She just keeps coming up with more perks for having no hair!” her mother, Jennifer, said Sunday night. “She has blown past her fundraising goal.”
After her long locks lay in clumps on the floor Monday night, Emily said she was “happy and relieved.”
“I am happy to do this; and relieved that it is finally over. I am glad I did this. It is for a good cause,” she explained. “I had a lot of support. Thank you everybody that helped me. Guys shave their heads and you don’t think a thing about. But for a girl to shave her head, that’s something different. But, bald is beautiful.”
She added she was glad there were some other girls who also had their heads shaved. It made her feel not so all alone, she noted.
Another Oswego youngster, Carson Colucci, is a St. Baldrick’s veteran.
This year he even convinced some of his minor hockey league team to join him.
“This is my third year. I raised about $1,200. Last year I did $2,500 and the year before about $1,300. I like to help others. I think it’s a cool event,” he said. “This year a bunch of my teammates came with me. It wasn’t hard to convince them. It’s for a good cause.”
The event even got a boost from the National Hockey League.
Erik Cole and his Dream Big Foundation assisted the OMHA with its St. Baldrick’s donation.
Carolina Hurricanes forward Cole recently celebrated his 600th game as a NHL player, according to Kevin Caraccioli. He began his hockey career as a member of the OMHA.
“In recognition of his milestone and to show his support for members of the OMHA taking part in this year’s St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser, the Erik Cole Dream Big Foundation is donating $600 to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation,” Caraccioli said.
“I am proud to partner with my fellow OMHA hockey players in contributing to such a worthy cause as St. Baldrick’s. I salute the youth hockey players for their community service and in raising awareness of cancer research for children,” Cole said in a prepared statement.
In previous years, Cole and other members of the Hurricanes organization have shaved their heads to raise money for this cause.
For more information on the Dream Big Foundation, visit ecdreambig.com or visit it on Facebook.
Emily’s brother took part in the event last year. This year, he helped out as a volunteer.
“He said he didn’t want to steal Emily’s thunder,” their mother said.
Judy Reidy of Minetto is a cancer survivor.
“It was an uplifting experience,” she said of taking part in the event. “I encourage everyone to do this. It’s a little cool when you go outside.”
Brian Buchanan, principal of G. Ray Bodley High School said he wanted to do his part to help out.
“I decided this was something that I wanted to do. I raised about $150,” he said.
No one, directly in his family has been touched by cancer.
“But there are a couple of our students that are affected by cancer. As a principal, there’s not really much that I can do for them. But, this is one thing that I can do and help fight cancer. It’s a great cause. And, best of all – a great haircut,” he said.
“When my aunt lost her hair during her chemo treatments, I still thought she was beautiful. I am confident in who I am, with or without hair,” Emily said, adding that when she goes to school Tuesday “everyone will be glad I did this and very supportive. My whole class supported me.”
She also got support from the Lakers Women’s Ice Hockey team. The team turned out Monday night to cheer her on.
“It was great. The whole entire Laker girls’ hockey team was here for me. They all signed a hockey stick for me,” she said.
To see her donor names, fundraising progress and before and after photos, visit her page on the St. Baldrick’s website – www.stbaldricks.org
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.
In 2010 alone, they gave more than $14 million – that’s more in grants for childhood cancer research than any other organization except the U.S. government.
Locally, they raised $27,000. They hope to top that number this year. Organizers say they were close to $20,000 by Monday evening with more money coming in prior to the head shaving. The fundraising didn’t stop Monday.
For more information, visit www.StBaldricks.org