In the St. Baldrick’s Foundation community, John Bender has been a catalyst for raising funds in support of lifesaving childhood cancer research and clinical trials.
In 1999, he was one of three reinsurance executives – along with Tim Kenny and Enda McDonnell – who made head shaving part of their mission to find better treatments and eventually a cure for kids’ cancers. Today, as a co-founder and Chairman Emeritus, John remains a major part of the organization and an inspiration to those who have taken up this vital cause.
That’s why, with the twentieth year of head shaving upon us, we asked John to share his thoughts on two decades of fighting childhood cancers.
Last year, an estimated 174 million Americans – or more than half the total US population – shopped online or in stores between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. In only 5 days, online sales totaled nearly $15 billion. It’s safe to say, then, that many Americans saved money pursuing big bargains that weekend.
If you’re saving money during this year’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday events, consider passing it on this Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27. You can do that right now by visiting our dedicated Giving Tuesday donation page.
Someone you know is shaving their head for childhood cancer research and is asking YOU for a donation. But why should you give?
Chris Colton has no personal tie to childhood cancer. Yet for the last seven years, he and his son, Liam, have shaved their heads with St. Baldrick’s. Read Chris’ explanation of why funding childhood cancer research is so important, even if it doesn’t affect you directly.
One of my favorite days of the year is “St. Baldrick’s Day” — a day of bald heads, temporary tattoos of green shamrocks and fundraising for childhood cancer research.
This year marks the seventh year that my 8-year-old son, Liam, and I have shaved our heads at our local head-shaving event in Libertyville, Illinois.
We are proud that the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the world’s largest volunteer-driven charity for childhood cancer research. In fact, each year, tens of thousands of amazing volunteers join us to raise money for lifesaving childhood cancer research — research that kids with cancer need right now.
Lou and Cindy Campbell of the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation with Zach Semenetz (second from left), St. Baldrick’s VEO, and Susan Heard (second from right), St. Baldrick’s Senior Director of Distinguished Giving.
The money raised goes into grants that fund every stage of the research process at over 300 institutions in the U.S. and around the world. These grants are an investment in the lives of kids with cancer, and each grant requires a substantial financial investment, too.
Josh, a St. Baldrick’s Honored Kid from Weston, Florida, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010. The 11-year-old has been off treatment for about seven months now and shaved his head for childhood cancer research at a St. Baldrick’s event at Mickey Byrnes Pub in Hollywood, Florida last month. Help Josh reach his goal! Donate on his shavee℠ page.
Josh loves playing football and was able to return to the sport just a year after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Almost four years ago, I was in second grade. I loved playing football, but I was really tired. I couldn’t play as well as I normally could.
You can give hope to children with cancer. Get involved.
Dr. Todd Alonzo was an esteemed statistician with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) in 2003 when the first California St. Baldrick’s events were held. He was well respected by his colleagues in the childhood cancer research arena for his expertise and knowledge.
But what would inspire this distinguished researcher to shave half his head in Southern California, fly half-shorn to Sacramento, and shave the other half there?A brother who dyed his hair green! And a challenge to see who could raise more money for an incredible cause.
Kris, a St. Baldrick’s volunteer and shavee℠, was one of 10 winners of the Lexus Bold IS video contest. She donated her prize to St. Baldrick’s to help fund childhood cancer research. You can help, too.
Kris, second from right, and her family in front of the St. Baldrick’s-themed Lexus Bold IS.
As the mother of a childhood cancer survivor and a participant in your Lexus Bold IS video contest, I would like to take this moment to thank you for joining with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and offering this unique opportunity for its shavees to take a bold new step in their efforts to promote awareness for childhood cancer and to secure funding for a cure.
However, before I do so, I would like to share with you some of the reasons why your collaboration with St. Baldrick’s has helped foster hope in the hearts of those touched by childhood cancer.
Three-time shavee Michael Rue sits in the barber’s chair for St. Baldrick’s. Michael passed away in 2012, but his family carries on his memory by donating to Michael’s favorite childhood cancer foundation.
“A single act does make a difference…it creates a ripple effect that can be felt many miles and people away.” – Lee J. Colan
When Michael Rue first shaved his head in 2009 to support a friend’s daughter battling leukemia, he had no idea of the ripple effect it would create for his family and friends. Michael passed away suddenly in November 2012, and the following March, his mom attended her first St. Baldrick’s event at Meehan’s Public House in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Michael’s mom, Mary, reflects on the event.
This past weekend, I watched two men get their heads shaved in memory of their friend and my son, Michael. They looked supremely happy. I know without a doubt Michael was there in spirit sporting a big grin on his face, just as he did each time he was a shavee.
I regret never attending any of the events when Michael got his head shaved. He did it three times — in fact I kind of dreaded it. I didn’t think Mike looked good bald, and I told him so! But he would always assure me his hair would grow back again. He smiles back at me in pictures I have of him in the barber’s chair and he looks so happy.
Frank with the Iowa Chrome Domes
As the person who introduced St. Baldrick’s to the state of Iowa in 2006, I felt it was important to lead by example and be a shavee. I was familiar with St Baldrick’s from my New York days and knew that the generous people of Iowa would be great supporters once they became familiar with the history, economics and mission of St Baldrick’s.
My motivation at that point was supporting the great things St. Baldrick’s was doing to help children stricken unfairly by the ravages of cancer. A couple of years later it became personal when my nephew, Chris, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma.
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