On April 11, instead of the usual sounds of basketballs being bounced on the gym floor at Amity Middle School Orange, the gym was filled with the sound of buzzing shavers as dozens of children and adults banded together for one cause: to raise money to study and treat childhood cancer.
“Childhood cancer is different from adult cancer,” explained teacher Karl Wilson. “Not nearly as much money is devoted to research for childhood cancer as it is to adult cancer.” The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government.
The event, in its eighth year, was kicked off with a cheer routine by Amity Pop Warner cheerleaders ranging in age from 9-14 years old. “The Spartans are here with hand in hand, striving for a cure, together we stand,” the girls cheered.
Adrian Fielosh, a sixth grader at Race Brook School was the event’s top fundraiser, raising $1,927 in donations. He was also a shavee. His TeamJoeyHoncz raised just under $4,000. Adrian’s mom Vicki, an English teacher at Amity Middle School Orange coordinated the event with Wilson. Team Amity Hairless Spartans, headed by Greg Twohill—who was a shavee for the eighth time—raised over $1,500.
“This year we had 38 shavees, collected 14 ponytails, and had over 40 staff and student volunteers. We raised over $16,000 this year,” Vicki Fielosh said. “The purpose of this event is to raise funds and awareness to help fight childhood cancer. Students volunteer to brave the shave for St. Baldrick’s and collect pledges for childhood cancer research. We also collect ponytails for Pantene Beautiful Lengths to make wigs for cancer patients. Over the past seven years we have shaved over 250 heads, collected enough ponytails to make dozens of free wigs and have raised over $200,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The best part of “Giving Hair and Hope” is that its kids helping kids.”
St. Baldrick’s supports more than 361 institutions that are treating kids with cancer across the U.S. and beyond.