When I was 9, my thoughts were about talking to my friends on the phone about the boy in school with cooties and playing with my Barbie dolls. While times have changed and girls don’t necessarily play with Barbie dolls anymore; I know one thing for sure: The furthest thing from most girl’s minds is children with cancer.
But from 3 to 7 p.m. March 9, Emma Bailey, a South Haven Elementary School student, will be hosting her second annual fundraising event for St. Baldrick’s Foundation at Clancy’s Public House, 2542 Portage Mall.
Last year Emma and her best friend shaved their heads for St. Baldrick’s and raised more than $3,700. Her goal is $5,000 this year. She told her mom, Jessica Bailey, a Portage Township School Board member that “her hair would grow back but kids with cancer are losing their hair all over the world.” Her motto is “You can make a difference if you try”. She was the first child to win the Hometown Hero award that is given out annually by the South Haven Little League.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with St. Baldrick’s Foundation, it is the largest volunteer-driven charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any other organization except the U.S. government. It gives hope to infants, children, teens and young adults fighting childhood cancers which can not be treated like little adults. More children are lost to cancer than any other disease, on fact all diseases combined. A child is diagnosed with a form of cancer every 3 minutes in this world.
Little can be done to prevent these cancers because they are not related to lifestyle choices as are most adult cancers. Eighty percent of all cancers have spread before the initial diagnosis in kids. While many kids survive; the battle is not over. About two thirds of all children have long term effects including, loss of hearing and sight, heart disease, secondary cancers, learning disabilities and infertility.
While this all seems overwhelming, that’s where St. Baldrick’s Foundation comes in. They fund high impact clinical trials, researchers, training the next generation of researchers and supportive care research which gives the patient quality of life.
Emma’s St. Baldrick’s Event is family-friendly and is a “head shaving event." So if you or someone you know needs a haircut; for a $20 donation or more; an experienced stylist from Cesar’s Chop Shop will shave your head. Register on Emma’s St. Baldrick’s page, www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/10212/2014.
If “shavee’s” collect more than $50 and register online, they will receive a free T-Shirt.
If you don’t want to shave your head, no problem, come and enjoy the entertainment by DJ Cowboy Entertainment and encourage those who do. There is a $2 cover at the door to join the festivities. A silent auction is planned and there will be baked goods and other items there for sale. You may also make donations in person at Clancy’s Public House in Portage and Cesar’s Chop Shop in Hobart.
Come out and help Emma realize her goal towards childhood cancer research.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.