When it comes to fighting childhood cancer, Honored Kid Tyler is a triple threat – he’s a survivor of kids’ cancer, a shavee and a nursing student! Why is he passionate about conquering childhood cancers? Because this three-time cancer fighter doesn’t want more kids to go through what he did.
Tyler smiles after his shave with 9-year-old Honored Kid Ally.
While Tyler was in the hospital, he became very good at pretending that he was asleep. He overheard all sorts of things – things that doctors liked to sugarcoat when he was awake. Like the fact that they thought he was going to die.
St. Baldrick’s CEO Kathleen Ruddy has seen it all. From the years before the Foundation was officially established to today, she has watched St. Baldrick’s grow from a few passionate volunteers to become the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants in the country. Now take a trip down memory lane with Kathleen, to where it all began.
A shavee is all smiles at the St. Baldrick’s Space Coast Conquers head-shaving event in Viera, Florida, which is one of thousands of events across the country and beyond.
18 years ago, St. Baldrick’s was a tiny group of passionate volunteers that aimed to do a big thing – conquer childhood cancers. The first event, established by the reinsurance industry in 2000, intended to raise $17,000 and raised $104,000 instead. Shavees scratched those newly shorn domes and said, ‘Maybe we should do this again!’
In 2001, these intrepid volunteers set forth to grow St. Baldrick’s throughout the U.S. for the following St. Patrick’s Day.
For Eric Haddad, head shaving isn’t just a one-time deal, because as the dad of a kid who fought brain cancer, he knows firsthand that the effects can last a lifetime. Next month, at the Rocky River event in Ohio, Eric will be shaving his head for the eighth time, while raising funds for research that he hopes will lead to better, safer treatments for kids with cancer.
During a past event, Eric shaves for his son, Shane.
When Shane Haddad was 4 years old, he started fighting childhood cancer. Eight years later, he hasn’t stopped fighting.
As a cancer survivor, Karen knows that having cancer is a terrifying experience for an adult. She doesn’t want kids to go through what she did — that’s why she’s shaved eight times and raised thousands of dollars for kids’ cancer research! But how does she raise the big bucks year after year? Read on for 8 tips from the veteran shavee℠ herself …
A mom and cancer survivor, Karen has shaved for St. Baldrick’s for eight years.
1. Make it easy for people to donate: When I send out emails, I always include the link to my St. Baldrick’s participant page. I also make fliers and mail out over 200 of them — and every single one includes a self-addressed, stamped envelope, so no one has to look for an envelope and stamp to send a check back to me.
Kathleen poses with the St. Baldrick’s office’s honorary Knight Crusader, who wears a medal and crown.
In an age of storytelling, St. Baldrick’s has an interesting one. Three resourceful men – John Bender, Tim Kenny and Enda McDonnell – founded the charity based upon a challenge to shave their heads bald. Eighteen years later, St. Baldrick’s helps children worldwide, has engaged volunteers on six continents and is the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants in the world.
That is the power of individuals. But John, Tim and Enda didn’t do all of this on their own.
Honored Kid Jack is selfless, brave, passionate, and funny. The seventh grader works hard, even when the odds are against him and if he could be friends with everyone in the world, he would be. In a word, Jack is special. Even cancer couldn’t take that away from him. And that’s what makes him a legendary hero to us — and this year’s League Champion of the St. Baldrick’s League of Legendary Heroes. You can be a legendary hero too! Get started today.
Jack was named 2018 League Champion for the League of Legendary Heroes because of his dedication to fundraising for kids’ cancer research. Photo by Courtney Van Alice Photography
Driving home from a visit with her sister, Vickie decided to run an errand. She pulled into the parking lot at Office Depot and stopped the car, expecting her son, Jack, to get out with her. But he didn’t.
“He’s like, ‘I can’t get out of the car, Mom. I can’t move,’ And I was like, ‘What? You were just wrestling with your cousin.’”
2017 was a big year, full of breakthroughs, incredible stories and some pretty amazing achievements in the childhood cancer world. Join us as we reflect on St. Baldrick’s top 10 highlights of the past year — and make sure you give yourself a pat on the back, because much of this was possible because of YOU!
Are you ready to take a trip down memory lane? Here we go …
1) Passage of the RACE Act
Someone you know is shaving their head for childhood cancer research and is asking YOU for a donation. But why should you give?
Adam Rosowicz once told his wife that he’d give his life if it would save one kid with cancer. Now, thanks to his love for St. Baldrick’s and others’ love for him, the long-time shavee and his family are saving countless lives. Since Adam’s passing in June from cancer, the St. Baldrick’s memorial page established in his honor has raised $30,000 – and counting – to fund childhood cancer research and help kids live long, healthy lives.
Adam and Christine, married for 21 years, share a kiss during a St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event.
When Adam Rosowicz was in college, he worked multiple jobs to help his parents with the cost of tuition. When he was renovating a house with his wife, Christine, he would run wires at night, so she wouldn’t be without electricity during the day. And year after year, he would sit down in the St. Baldrick’s barber’s chair with a smile on his face, a beer in his hand and zero hesitation. That was the kind of man he was. Generous, hardworking and kind, Adam put everyone else before himself.
First comes Black Friday. Then Cyber Monday. Then, on November 28, it’s #GivingTuesday, the day when people around the world give back. This year, our face of Giving Tuesday is Honored Kid Grace – AKA the Ninja Princess. Why is she jazzed about raising critical funds for research? Maybe because researchers are cancer-fighting ninjas just like her!
7-year-old Honored Kid Grace loves everything pink, frilly and powerful. She’s been learning karate since this summer and recently earned her orange belt, even after relapsing with cancer.
When she relapsed in August, Grace’s first question to her mom, Melissa, was a question no parent ever wants to hear.
The 7-year-old asked, “Will I die?”
“‘No,’ we told her, because we were going to fight the cancer,” Melissa recalled. “‘Good,’ she said, ‘because I want to grow up and get married and be a mom.’”
Rightly known as the ‘Ninja Princess,’ Grace Ellen has fought for most of her life. Her parents affectionately call her their ‘alpha female,’ because, as her mom said, “she’s always known who she is, what she likes, and she doesn’t let anything get in her way. Not even cancer.”
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