For the eighth time in his 17 years of teaching in the Phoenix Central School District, Matt Wieczorek is sporting a shaved head in support of childhood cancer research.
The fourth-grade teacher has been participating in the annual St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser for nearly a decade to help fund life-saving studies in childhood cancer treatment.
With a lofty goal of $5,000, Wieczorek reached out to friends, family, the school district and the Phoenix community, and the results were overwhelming, he said.
“I was blown away by the outpouring of tremendous support I received last year when everyone helped me crush my goal of raising $3,500,” Wieczorek said, noting that the support was even stronger in 2014. “I don’t know if people think it’s just me using a phrase that ‘you can’t thank people enough,’ but between the support I’ve received from friends outside of the district and the people within the district … it’s pretty wonderful.”
Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School even got in on the fundraising action with Bald is Beautiful Day, resulting in an extra $660 for childhood cancer research.
The youngsters were encouraged to donate to the fundraising efforts and, in return, they could wear a hat during the school day.
Decked out in all types of hats, from traditional baseball caps to whacky winter hats, students showed their support in any way they could to push the teacher closer to his goal.
When it was Wieczorek’s turn to have his head shaved March 30, he had nearly reached his goal by collecting $4,720.
“All I do is lose hair, but everyone else hands over money,” he said. “I don’t think they realize that they are the ones actually doing the work. I just show up and get my head shaved. Without them I’d just be some goofy-looking bald guy.”
The teacher wasn’t the only one with Phoenix ties who received the bald treatment March 30.
Wieczorek’s former student Mary Bergman joined him in the head-shaving fundraiser.
“It’s great to see so many people help this cause,” Wieczorek said. “It’s even better when I see former students being so selfless and donating their time, money and efforts.”