Shave to Save — NJ events raise awareness, funds for childhood cancer research
SAYREVILLE — High school senior Adam Toledo was next in line to go completely bald in the name of childhood cancer.
But he wasn't nervous. He's gotten a full shave a couple times before, for the same reason, right on the grounds of Sayreville War Memorial High School.
"It's very sad that people have to suffer through this so I do this to hope that it makes them happy," Toledo told New Jersey 101.5.
The shave event ran concurrently with the school's Powder Puff female football game — both of which were designed to benefit St. Baldrick's Foundation, which has raised more than $30.6 million in 2017 alone to support childhood cancer research.
Toledo was one of several current and former students that took the chair and got rid of all or some of their locks. Anyone clipping 12 inches or more had the opportunity to donate their hair to an organization that creates wigs for cancer sufferers, according to event organizer Katie Masterson.
Nineteen-year-old Jacob Rosa, a 2015 graduate who returned for the event, got rid of three-and-a-half years worth of hair.
"I wanted to get it cut and I knew I wanted to donate it, so when they said they were doing it here, it was perfect," he said.
Head-shaving events, created by St. Baldrick's, "started with a friendly dare," the foundation's website says. Since 2000, the act of kindness exploded worldwide, and today, more than 1,000 head-shaving events are taking place on an annual basis.
Five such events in New Jersey are occurring over just the next two weeks. Folks interested in "taking it all off" can create an online fundraising page for donations from friends and family.
In early April, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, shaved his part as part of a fraternity-sponsored event on The College of New Jersey campus. Phi Alpha Delta raised $23,000 for St. Baldrick's last year and a had a $30,000 goal for 2017.
“We need to support efforts that aggressively pursue effective treatments and cures for pediatric cancers,” Gusciora said after the event. “Every child deserves a chance to live a full, healthy life.”
According to St. Baldrick's, almost all kids diagnosed with cancer in the 1950s passed away. But because of research, about 90 percent of kids today diagnosed with the most common type of cancer — acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) — will live.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.