Going Bald For A Cause In Pittsville

PITTSVILLE — Heads are going bare in the name of charity this weekend when the Delmarva Emerald Society hosts its 2nd Annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving on Saturday.

“It just struck my eye,” said Emerald Society President James Jester in reference to St. Baldrick’s unique approach to raising money and awareness for childhood cancer, which involves volunteers raising donations while shaving their hair.

Since its origin, the foundation has spread and formed new partnerships across the country. The Delmarva Emerald Society, a non-profit group of firefighters from across the peninsula with a focus on the contributions of Irish-Americans to the fire service, became involved with the foundation toward the end of 2010 and hosted its own head-shaving party last St. Patrick’s Day.

“This is just the coolest thing in the world,” said Jester, who pointed out that the head-shaving, while all done in good fun, is a stark visual reminder of what children going through cancer treatment have to face every day.

He added that it is also a display of support that makes self-conscious children less ashamed of not having hair with dozens of newly bald volunteers running around.

Like last year, the event will be hosted at the Station 7 restaurant in Pittsville beginning at 4 p.m. Besides the head-shaving, for which 30 people have already volunteered, there will be a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, souvenir pint glasses and live music. Jester confirmed that Station 7 owner Todd Wampler will be donating 10 percent of all food sales during the night to the Emerald Society.

“He’s been an absolute godsend,” Jester said of Wampler.

Besides Station 7, Jester noted that a number of businesses and private individuals have already made pledges, either in prizes or donations. Several area restaurants have donated hundreds of dollars’ worth of gift certificates, while other individuals have donated beer, wine and liquor for a “wheelbarrow of cheer” that will be filled with alcohol and offered as a prize during the event. Jester added that even Worcester County Commission President Bud Church has gotten into the spirit, donating a one-day, two-person hunting trip into the mix.

St. Baldrick’s itself began on St. Patrick’s Day in 2000, when a group of friends decided to raise donations while shaving their heads so that they resembled the childhood cancer patients they were advocating. While the group’s original goal was $17,000, they brought in over $104,000 in their first year alone. In the last 12 years, the event has brought in more than 189,660 volunteers as well as over $117 million for life-saving research.

St. Baldrick’s website also points out that every volunteer is a “walking billboard for the cause.”

The goal for this year’s fundraiser will be the same as last year’s — $10,000. Already, Jester said he’s received roughly $3,300 in donations and hopes to surpass this year’s goal much like last year’s, when the Emerald Society raised a grand total of around $25,000.

Though this is only the second year the Emerald Society has hosted a head-shaving, Jester predicts a long future for the event.

“I hope that they will certainly continue on,” he said of the Emerald Society’s involvement with St. Baldrick’s.

Jester also hopes to achieve a personal milestone one day by having his own head shaved every year for 10 years, which will make him a St. Baldrick’s “Knight of the Bald Table.”

“Me, personally, that’s what I’m shooting for,” he said.
For more information contact Jester at 443-944-6469 or ocvfcc80@verizon.net.