A first today to attend the annual fundraiser for childhood cancer. The St. Baldrick’s foundation is a volunteer-powered charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.
Today’s event was at Jackie Reilly’s pub in Bethpage NY on Long Island and Sue & I were invited to attend. A key feature of the fundraiser is folks sign up to have their heads shaved as others pledged money to the cause.
There were 5 chairs on stage with licensed hairdressers standing by to do the honors.
Tom Finnen, my boss at APC Postal Logistics was the Master of Ceremonies and one of the first to get his head shaved. Tom and his wife flew up from North Carolina to manage this event. They have been actively involved for over 7 years after their niece was diagnosed with cancer. She is a survivor and Tom & co are doing everything they can to keep it that way.
The venue was packed to overflowing and the chairs on stage were barely empty for more than a couple of minutes before other volunteers took a seat to get their head shaved. I watched as a family of 4 – dad, mom, son daughter went up and got shaved together.
I contributed to the donations to help persuade one man to shave his beard off. Sue bought a sheet of raffle tickets to go in on the generous array of gifts & services donated by local businesses to this wonderful cause.
Tears came to my eyes as a mom stood on stage with her baby, talking about the son she lost to cancer. At 2 years old, he received aggressive chemotherapy and went into remission. Then, it returned and, before he passed, the doctors told her that there were no other options. She was crying at this point as she told everyone that these fundraising events are so important as no mother should have to hear that there are no other options.
As a parent, I can only imagine what losing a child must be like. I remember when my son was an infant, going into his room to watch him sleeping, holding my breath until I saw him move as he took one.
I was grateful for the opportunity to be invited to join Mr & Mrs Finnen and the many other devoted volunteers who are committed to raising funds & awareness to give more children the precious gift of life. There are indeed heroes among us.