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You Can Help Fight Childhood Cancer – Tonight

OSWEGO, NY – Mayor Tom Gillen proclaimed today (March 27) as St. Baldrick’s Day in the Port City.

The annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event will be held in Oswego tonight.

It will get under way at 6 p.m. and run until around 8:30 p.m. in the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center at the Best Western – Captain’s Quarters, 26 E. First St.

Mayor Tom Gillen presents the St. Baldrick's Day proclamation to Julian Ross
Mayor Tom Gillen presents the St. Baldrick’s Day proclamation to Julian Ross.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation seeks to raise awareness about childhood cancers and raise money to fund research to find cures for these diseases.

All proceeds benefit the foundation, which uses 82 percent of monies raised toward research.

“I want to thank you for this incredible gift that you give to our community,” the mayor told the members of the local St. Baldrick’s event.

“Our goal this year in $75,000. We’re hoping that many city residents turn out and help us support our goal,” said Dan Witmer, local organizer. “Last year, we raised $72,000. Currently, as of 6:05 p.m. this evening (Monday), we broke the $50,000 mark.”

As of Wednesday afternoon that figure had grown to $56,000 with around 185 volunteer “shavees.”

The mayor presented the proclamation to Julian Ross and his mother, Kristi, and the committee members.

Julian was diagnosed at an early age with cancer.

After seeing several doctors and specialists, his mother said she was told to “take him home and let nature take its course,” she said at Monday’s council meeting.

She didn’t accept that fate and search the country for other options.

She found a trial program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; it was funded by St. Baldrick’s.

Julian got the final spot in the experimental program, she said.

“We’re really passionate about St. Baldrick’s organization for one major reason. Last year my son was listed as a terminal patient, with days to weeks to live,” she said. “We had two options. One was the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the other was to bring Julian home and let nature take its course. We tried the experimental procedure that was funded by St. Baldrick’s.”

Currently, because of this procedure, after his last diagnosis, Julian is disease free, she noted.

“If St. Baldrick’s didn’t raise money and get grants to these organizations . . . my son would not be here today,” she added. “It’s one of those things where the impact of organizations like St. Baldrick’s is paving the way for future research in childhood cancer. Thank you all so much for your support.”

The idea to raise money for this cause by shaving heads began in 1999 with three colleagues: Tim Kenney, John Bender and Enda McDonnell.

In 2004, they launched the St. Baldrick’s Foundation with the priorities of spending as little as possible to raise money, while making sure that each dollar goes toward the best research possible.

In 2012, the foundation passed the $100 million mark in childhood cancer research grants.

To donate to the campaign or volunteer to be a participant, contact Witmer at 315-529- 5154 or [email protected]