Tori Fischer, Erin Kelly and Shioban Reilley hold hands as they prepare to get their heads shaved at the March 19 St. Baldrick's fundraiser in Cazenovia. photo by Jason Emerson
By Jason Emerson
Cazenovia’s fourth annual St. Baldrick’s fundraiser garnered more than $25,000 to help fight childhood cancer this past Sunday, and while the shavee turnout and the total money raised was less than in previous years, the amount of heart at the event was just as big.
“I’m doing this because I feel really strongly about cancer and I wanted to push my limits,” said eight-year-old Fern Corona who shaved her head at the event. “And it sounded like a lot of fun.”
“This is really, really awesome,” agreed Olivia Sokolic, a Cazenovia College sophomore and president of the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society. Members of the society volunteered their time during the event last Sunday, March 19. “We’re hoping to work with [event coordinators] Sean and Erin Kelly and host the event [at the college] sometime in the future or even do our own event,” Sokolic said.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is 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.
Hundreds of people showed up to Sunday’s event at Burton Street Elementary School, approximately 45 people got their heads shaved and, as of press time, about $30,000 was raised, said Erin Kelly, who also shaved her head.
“We’ve done close to $50,000 [in funds raised] each of the last three years, but it’s all good, it’s all going to a great cause,” she said.
The top individual fundraiser this year was Shioban Reilley, at $2,615, while 14-year-old Camdyn Cross, of Munnsville, who is a 12-year cancer survivor herself, raised $2,350. The top team fundraiser this year was Life of Reilley, with $3,745 raised, while the team Three Amigos raised $2,075.
Cazenovia school district Superintendent Matt Reilly said it was great to have the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser at Burton Street for a third year. “We welcome them any time. It’s a great way to bring the community together for a positive event,” he said. “Maybe next year I’ll shave my head.”
This year’s St. Baldrick’s event in Cazenovia included game booths for kids, a bake sale and food and drinks, the proceeds of which get added to the total day’s donation collection.
New to this year’s event were attractions such as gift basket raffles from local businesses, a local LuLaRoe clothing representative selling her wares (with a percentage of the proceeds being donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation) and a special visit from Otto the Orange from Syracuse University.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.