Mar 17, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
After Cazenovia High School senior Amara Kattrein shaved all 23 inches of her hair off last Sunday, March 16, during the St. Baldrick’s fundraising event in Cazenovia, James Henry, father of 6-year-old Nathaniel Henry, a Burton Street Elementary School student who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in March 2012, walked up to Amara, said, “I just want to thank you so much,” and gave her a hug. And Amara teared up.
Cazenovian Roger Brooks showed up Sunday with a bushy beard and mustache as well as a full head of hair — all of which he got shaved off with a big smile on his face — and only after this was done did the event announcer reveal that Brooks was celebrating his one-year anniversary of being cancer free. “I feel great,” he said. “That’s why I let everything grow — I wanted to make an impression.”
These are just two of the myriad touching moments that occurred last Sunday, March 16, at the Cazenovia American Legion for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraising event, during which hundreds of people showed up, more than 100 got their heads shaved and more than $40,000 was raised to help increase childhood cancer research and awareness.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a national volunteer-driven charity that allows anyone to host or create a head-shaving event to raise money for the organization. Participants collect pledges from family and friends and agree to have their heads shaved as a visible, outward sign of the fight against all types of cancer. The money goes to St. Baldrick’s, but typically gets allocated to medical facilities local to an event.
The Cazenovia event, which was announced and posted on the St. Baldrick’s website in January, started with a fundraising goal of $5,000 and had about 50 participants signed up by mid-February. But then word started to spread, and the participation and donations grew quickly.
“We didn’t think it would be this big,” said Sean Kelly, a Cazenovia High School chemistry teacher who organized the event along with his wife, Erin. “We’re overwhelmed. There’s no other way to put it.”
“We haven’t stopped smiling since we got here,” Erin said.
The Kellys were not exactly sure how big to plan for Sunday’s event, but the St. Baldrick’s coach who helped Sean in his event organization, said that, judging by the size of the Cazenovia community and school district, $5,000 was a realistic goal to aim for.
“So we started at 5, then went to 10, then 15, then 20,” Sean said. “There’s so much money coming in the door.”
The Cazenovia event was done in honor of Nathaniel Henry who, along with his father, got his head shaved on Sunday.
Also present was Cazenovia Board of Education member Jan Woodworth, who raised over $1,000 herself and over $2,000 as part of Team Woodworth along with her children Molly and Tim.
Cazenovia Police Chief Michael Hayes not only got his head shaved Sunday, but, since he reached his fundraising goal of $250, showed up to the American Legion with a freshly shaved upper lip.
Of the approximately 130 participants, as of press time the top fundraising teams were Team Kattrein with $3,135, the Madom Boys with $3,105 and the Cazenovia Fire Department team with $2,505.
The top individual participants were Amara Kattrein who raised $2,585; Beth Ryan who raised $2,400 and Nettie Goeler who raised $2,321.
Kattrein, who participated with her brother Hans, was not only the top fundraiser of the event, but also the clear crowd — and the numerous photographers’ — favorite shavee of the day when she got up on the stage with her blond hair hanging down nearly to her waist. Stylist Lindsay Waltz started but cutting about 12 inches off with a pair of scissors before she got out the electric clippers.
“I’m so proud,” Amara said when she arrived at the event and saw all the people in attendance. “A lot of people have been so supportive. I just can’t believe the turnout.” When asked how she felt after getting her head completely shaved, she said, “Bald!”
When the fundraiser started at 12:30 p.m., the event had raised a little more than $36,000. By 2:30 p.m., through cash brought to the event, volunteers who signed up at the Legion to get shaved and proceeds from the bake sale on-site, the Cazenovia crowd had raised more than $40,000.
Even though the event ended Sunday afternoon, the Cazenovia fundraising page on the St. Baldrick’s website will remain active and accepting donations until the end of the year, Sean Kelly said.
When asked if he and his wife planned to organize another St. Baldrick’s event in Cazenovia next year, Kelly said, “Definitely. It’s such a positive thing, we can’t stop.”
For more information about making a donation, email Sean Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit stbaldricks.org and search for “Cazenovia.”
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.