Plainfield North High School Volunteer Event Organizer Kerri McCastland gives us a play-by-play of their St. Baldrick’s event in Plainfield, Illinois, with Instagram photos posted by PNHS students.
It was nothing short of awesome. The students led the way, and we just got behind them.
Niko Burton was one of our student leaders. Niko’s cousin, Michelle DeCarlo, had cancer as a teenager and passed away. His family took this hard walk firsthand and knew what St. Baldrick’s means to families affected by childhood cancer.
With the school administration’s approval, Niko and the students organized events all week as a daily reminder of our upcoming St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event. There was something to be involved in day or night — dress days, a talent show, a dance-a-thon, our first annual Battle of the Bands — all leading up to the big head-shaving event at our basketball game.
Over 2,000 students and staff packed into the gym for the head-shaving pep rally, along with the WGN morning show, who was covering the event.
We started with the entry of the Chicago Bagpipers and the Crimson Crazies, our student section club that supports our clubs and sports. Amazing! The feeling in the room was electric.
The rest of the assembly was student led, with no administrators or teachers talking. Niko’s aunt, Laura Decarlo, talked about her daughter, Michelle, which really brought home why we need to help children with cancer. We played some St. Baldrick’s videos, and then introduced a St. Baldrick’s Honored Kid, Addison. Students gave Addison baskets and cards they had made for her.
Then we started shaving heads with Poms and Cheer firing us up with their displays of awesomeness.
It was amazing to see how empathetic our kids and staff were all week long. So many girls were inspired to cut their hair for Addison.
I am so proud of my school, and I believe we showed each other our best side. Staff walked around that next week sharing how lucky they felt to work here with these great kids.
The best thing was how the community came together that night at the game. We had both sides — our deepest rivals this season! — chanting together, “WE BELIEVE, WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL, WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL FIND A CURE!” I just spun around at half court and took in the moment. It was so classy of Plainfield East and North to come together for Addison and her family.
If you’re wondering whether you should start a St. Baldrick’s event at your school, I would say, absolutely! Give your students and staff a reason to give, a reason to think about others, and help them find an active role in it. It will change lives.
In our case, it changed our school and community.
St. Baldrick’s head-shaving events change lives and save lives. Bring St. Baldrick’s to your school or community.
Read more on the St. Baldrick’s blog: