Friday’s weather was fantastic. Throngs of spectators and the hairless watched as the ceremony continued—two people at a time sat patiently on a stage while two others meticulously shaved the heads of those seated.
“Anybody who is shaving their head talk to friends and family, members of their community, going door to door, students go through their floors, asking for donations,” said Sundi Musnicki, the area coordinator of University Housing.
As a part of St. Baldrick’s Foundation, students organized this event in order to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer research. Those who chose to have their heads shaved were sponsored by their communities; their loss in hair was matched by an increase in funding for St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Men and women equally took part in the event; a mob of soon-to-be-shaved students and community members gathered to the left of the stage ready to take part in the ceremonial shaving.
The spirits matched the weather. Students from the resident halls tossed footballs in the background, and students and adults donned t-shirts and shorts while their wintery skin met the sun for the first time in months. And, most importantly, the ceremony included a face-painting booth on picnic tables near the main stage.
The event commenced at three o’clock with the original goal set to $5,000. By four o’clock that afternoon; one hour into the event, that goal was met. “The total amount of money raised for the event was $10,069” said Aubrie Gribble, a SRA at Chaffee Hall and primary coordinator of the event.
Though the shaving of heads was the primary method of fundraising, students and coordinators alike found other ways to raise money.
“We’re helping out by selling wristbands. They cost $1 and so far we’ve raised over $100,” said Emily Walker, a Freshman at Boise State University.
The event took a somber turn around 4:30 when Karen Ewing and her daughter took the stage.
“This is Rylee, and she is a cancer survivor,” said Ewing. Rylee is six-years-old. Though she is healthy now, Rylee’s path to recovery was an arduous one. “After about a year and a half of treatment and two bone marrow transplants, a couple of rounds of radiation, regular chemo, Rylee is better now, so we’re all about giving back with research and study, so that a few years from now the cure rate is even higher,” said Ewing.
According to St. Baldricks.org, national childhood cancer research is the least funded of all cancer research receiving just four percent of federal cancer research funding. Raising money for research on childhood cancer becomes the responsibility of the community when there is little help from the state.
“You just don’t hear a whole lot about it, and we haven’t heard a lot from Hollywood because it’s just too sad. Nobody wants to be the spokesperson for the sad,” Ewing said.
The second annual hosting of St Baldrick’s Day by Boise State students and staff was much more successful than expected. Twice the expected amount of money was raised, men, women and children alike shaved their heads for funding and awareness, and many were inspired to continue the fight for funding and research for childhood cancer.