OSWEGO, NY – The crowd was kind of small compared to other years. However, their donations were huge.
Several dozen volunteers put on the 12th annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser Sunday at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center. From noon until 3 p.m. more than 112 “shavees” paraded to barber chairs have their hair shaved by volunteer barbers, including students from CiTi.
Their goal this year was to raise $75,000.
At 12:20 p.m., volunteer event coordinator Dan Witmer, who is also the community service coordinator for the Oswego State Athletic Department, announced they had raised $59,000 – soaring way beyond the 2017 total of $51,250. Just 15 minutes later, they had upped the total to $60,000.
Shawn Baldwin, 6, was the first “shavee” of 2018. The youngster, a first-time shavee, had some powerful support. Whatever amount he winds up raising, it will be matched by the employees at Exelon Generation.
“It didn’t hurt. But it feels cold,” he said later.
Once again, the Oswego Fire Department was front and center.
Hunter Hourigan, son of an Oswego firefighter, had his head shaved for the seventh year. He has raised upwards of $12,000. He was later recognized with the title of Squire of Hope for his continued support of St. Baldricks.
Various high school and college teams also raised several hundreds of dollars.
Two-year-old Charlie Jane Peter of Pulaski is battling leukemia. Dozens of volunteers from the Pulaski community and beyond turned out to support her.
Team Charlie’s Angels, which included Shawn Baldwin, donated more than $12,000 to the cause. Of that, the 6-year-old raised $5,100. He earned a huge gold medal in honor of his efforts.
Rashelle Pitcher and Beverley Munski said they shaved their heads to help raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer.
Some of the “shavees” were elementary-aged who wanted to help their peers.
The Oz Brygade, a team of seven that is comprised of a Hannibal woman and her six children, raised more than $2,000.
Eighty-six-year-old Stephen Mizgela said he was there to support all the kids with cancer. “No child should have to suffer this,” he added.
Many “shavees” were taking part in memory of a loved one.
One man told Oswego County Today, “I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do.”
William Foley, the MC of the event, praised that community spirit. “Oswego may be a ‘little town,’ but its people have a really big heart.”
It takes a lot of volunteers to put on an event like this, he added, thanking all volunteer helpers and barbers.
About that time, it was announced the pledge total bumped up past $61,000.
Team 22 raised more than $11,000. The group consists of friends and family of a local family with ties to Oswego State and a son who is currently undergoing cancer treatments. The team name is the jersey number of the team’s captain; who was a lacrosse player under Witmer several years ago.
The number of children each year who are diagnosed with some form of cancer is 175,000.
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.
“Your hair’ll grow back after a while. But these kids are living with cancer every day,” one shavee explained. “Hopefully, we can help save some lives.”
According to the website, this year’s top 3 individual fundraisers are:
1. Rich Wagner – $5,001
2. Shawn Baldwin – $5,000
3. James Omundsen / #CharliesAngels – $3,700
…and the top 3 teams are:
1 Charlie’s Angels – $12,046
2. Team #22 – $11,465.
3. Oswego Men’s Lacrosse 2018 – $4,561.30
As donations are continuing to come in, these figures are subject to change.
To make a donation or learn more about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, go to https://www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/337/2018 or www.stbaldricks.org