Friends and family of children who lose their hair to cancer treatments sometimes shave their heads in solidarity. That’s the spirit that brings participants to the 9th annual Ithaca St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event this Sunday at Kilpatrick’s Publick House.
The tradition dates back to St. Patrick’s Day, 2000, when a goal of shaving the heads of 17 participants at Jim Brady’s pub in New York City to raise $17,000 ended up topping $100,000. Now, nearly 10,000 events and nearly 500,000 participants later, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has been able to provide over $150,000,000 in research grants to fund pediatric cancer research. The name of the foundation is a play on words that came from the hair-shaving event’s origin on St. Patrick’s Day.
This year’s Ithaca event, on Sunday, March 13th at Kilpatrick’s Publick House in Downtown Ithaca, has so far raised over $9,800, with 17 participants whose heads will be shaved starting at 1pm.
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The Ithaca event is spearheaded by Mira’s Movement, an organization founded in honor and in memory of Mira Brouwer, who lost her fight against cancer at the age of four, just weeks after watching loved ones have their heads shaved at the first St. Baldrick’s event in Ithaca. Mira’s mother, Christine Brouwer Hinman, has continued to drive the local effort, offering support to families facing childhood cancer in Central New York.
Regular participant Christopher Morris, better known as “Bazooka,” visits his hometown of Ithaca for the weekend to shave off his hair for St. Baldrick’s — three months worth of hair grown just to shave it off this weekend. “I’m doing it to raise money for childhood cancer research, which is desperately underfunded, to help the bravest amazing little souls on earth,” Morris says. He’s one of four participants of the Bangs Ambulance and Friends team.