The Marquette Evans Scholars raised over $16,000 and shaved dozens of heads April 21 in support of St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity that sponsors childhood cancer research.
Evans Scholar Madeline Kelly, a junior in the College of Business Administration and lead organizer of the event, said the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser at the university began because a Marquette Evans Scholar was diagnosed with cancer as a child. He had AML Leukemia. He recently celebrated being cancer free for 20 years. Childhood cancer encompasses teenage and adolescent cancer. St. Baldrick’s treats teens as well.
Nine years later, Marquette Evans Scholars have raised $125,000 in support of childhood cancer research.
“It’s one thing to get the money raised … but to have people stand in solidarity with people who lose their hair because of cancer is really awesome,” Kelly said.
For some participants, the annual St. Baldrick’s event is a fun occasion that brings people together. Joshua Steinfels-Saenz, a junior in the College of Business Administration and an Evans Scholar, has shaved his head three times in support of the cause. He’s been gearing up for this year by spending the last year growing out his hair.
“It’s the spirit of the event where all of us are coming together as a community to do something great,” Steinfels-Saenz said.
For other participants, the annual event is symbolic of a greater cause.
Brendan O’Grady, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration and an Evans Scholar, shaved his head, along with his uncle and two younger cousins, who drove up from Illinois for the fundraiser. O’Grady’s family surrounded him and took pictures.
This wasn’t the first time O’Grady or his uncle, Chris Browne, had their heads shaved for St. Baldrick’s.
“We had a sister and an aunt pass away from cancer. It’s something close to us,” Browne said.
Collectively, O’Grady said his family raised nearly $2,000 for St. Baldrick’s. The participants get people to sponsor them and donate money several months leading up to the event. Then, the participants shave their heads on the day of the event.
“It’s a great cause. I think everyone should do it,” O’Grady said.
The event also raised money through raffles and food sales. Kelly said the money raised goes to funding different grants that support research for childhood cancer.
The National Cancer Institute devotes less than four percent of its budget to childhood cancer research, according to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s website. Steinfels-Saenz said St. Baldrick’s is the second leading funder of cancer research besides the government.
The organization funds research that aims to have a big impact on the lives of children with cancer. This includes initiatives that aim to “open high-impact clinical trials for rare disease types,” and fund supportive care for families of children with cancer, according to its website.