The foundation, in conjunction with the Elks, will host one of their signature head-shaving events at the Elks Lodge on Saturday, March 10 from 3 p.m.-6 p.m in order to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.
The event is open to everyone in the community to participate as either a "shavee" or as a supporter. Geoff Chellis, the impending Exalted Ruler for the Elks and the organizer for the event, said, "St. Baldrick's Day is essentially a shave-a-thon, and is a great way to not only raise money to combat pediatric cancer, but also the shaved heads raise awareness to the number one killer of children in America."
By shaving their heads, participants join in solidarity with kids with cancer, which currently only receives about 4% of all federal dollars earmarked for cancer research.
Chellis said all the participants have a "personal story" — either having a family member with pediatric cancer or knowing someone who does.
Chellis explained the Elks have partnered with St. Baldrick's as an extension of their commitment to charitable causes.
"We usually work in the community supporting children with debilitating illnesses and special needs," Chellis said, "often organizing fundraisers for individual families. St. Baldrick's is a national extension of this, offering greater appeal."
He said many participants who were not aware of the Elks learn about the organization and their efforts through this fundraiser.
Personally, Chellis jokes the shave-a-thon is a way for him to "level the playing field."
While he does not have hair to shave off, he raises money by offering advertising space on his head. "I call it the Bald Board," he quipped. To date, Chellis has raised more than $2,000 for this year's event.
While the fundraiser supports a critical need, Chellis and the Elks also want the event to be a fun day of camaraderie. To this end, volunteer barbers will create a funny haircut before the final shave.
In the past, these haircuts have been a draw to attract additional participants. After several members of a Montclair crew team texted pictures to their teammates, they too joined in to get their own funny hair cut and shave.
In addition to the crew team, other groups that have participated include the West Orange High School hockey team and members of the Cedar Grove Police Department, fire department and rescue squad, as well as individual participants.
Volunteer barbers include hair stylists from Bellatair Salon. The Elks will provide complimentary hot dogs and soda.
The event will be held Saturday, March 10 from 3 p.m.-6 p.m at the Cedar Grove Elks Lodge, 405 Bowden Road.
All funds support the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity which funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the US goverment. To learn more about St. Baldrick's, visit their website.
To make a donation to the Cedar Grove Elks fundraiser or to learn more information about this event, click here.