By Andrew Kunkel, Contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY – Oswego’s sixth annual St. Baldrick’s fundraiser was held Thursday in the food court of SUNY Oswego’s Campus Center.
It brought together hundreds of community members. People ranging from sheriff’s deputies, hockey teams, elementary students, firefighters and dozens of others all came out to have their heads shaved to raise money to fund research for childhood cancer.
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.
“This year, we have 150 people registered to get their heads shaved,” said coordinator Dan Witmer. “This is twice the number that we had last year.”
“St. Baldrick’s is a young organization that raises millions of dollars each year for childhood cancer research. We’re proud to say that we have raised more than 60,000 dollars this year,” Witmer added.
The Campus Center was full of people lined up to get their heads shaved for the cause; many of whom kept tabs on the SU Basketball game on the nearby big-screen TV.
“I mean, its just a little hair. It will come back. It’s not like it’s going to hurt me losing it. My friend has an eight-year-old fighting cancer, and it’s the least I could do,” said participant Bill Connolly.
Oswego youngster, Carson Colucci, is a St. Baldrick’s veteran. It is his fourth year of rasing money for the cause; raising more than $6,000.
This year, he even convinced his minor hockey league team to join him.
“It’s just the right thing to do, to help ids with cancer,” he said.
He remembers when he first told his mother he wanted to shave his head for St. Baldick’s.
“She said, ‘Carson, why don’t you think about it for a while,'” he remembers her telling him.
Athletes of all ages from the community and the college were more than willing to get rid of their hair for the cause.
“One of my jobs is the community service coordinator for the athletic department at the college. So, I’ve been encouraging student athletes to come and shave their heads. We have eight lacrosse players, six soccer players and 23 students athletes in total shaving their heads tonight. Together they have raised about $2,000 to $3,000,” said Witmer.
Students walking through the campus center were intrigued by the event.
“My teacher is Mr.Witmer, and he kept talking about the event so I figured I’d see what was going on,” said SUNY Oswego student Cassondra Taylor. “Everyone is really happy and I’m glad they’re doing it. But I don’t think I could part with my hair just yet.”
Oswego County declared March 22 as St. Baldrick’s day.
To date, St. Baldrick’s has raised an impressive $117 million for childhood cancer research.
Even though the event is over, for this year, donations are still being accepted online for the Oswego event online at http://www.stbaldricks.org