Off with hair for cancer fight

by Jim Boyle

Ryan Czech, an 11-year-old Elk River youth, had his head shaved recently for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization committed to finding cures for childhood cancer.

Czech, a student at Twin Lakes Elementary School, does not have cancer, but he has a soft spot for the cause nonetheless. He raised nearly $500 for the foundation.

When asked by his father, Rich Czech, why he decided to part with his hair, his son said he “wanted to help kids with cancer.”

His goal was to raise $250 but he thought it was pretty cool that he ended up raising $430, thanks to all the support of his friends, family and teachers. He hopes to do it again next year.

“I’m pretty proud of my son’s courage to take on such an act,” Rich Czech said. “It takes a special kid that is willing to go through such a transformation.”

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

On March 17, 2000, reinsurance executives John Bender, Tim Kenny and Enda McDonnell turned their industry’s St. Patrick’s Day party into a head-shaving event to benefit kids with cancer. Their 20 “shavee” recruits planned to raise “$17,000 on the 17th.” Instead, they raised over $104,000.

The movement quickly grew into the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising program for childhood cancer research, and today the St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. Since 2000, more than 189,660 volunteers — including over 17,200 women — have shaved in solidarity with children with cancer at events in dozens of countries and every U.S. state. Thanks to generous friends and family, these shavees have raised over $131 million for life-saving research, and each is a walking billboard for the cause.

At St. Baldrick’s events, people from all walks of life discover a power they didn’t know they had…the power to bring hope and a future to the bravest kids in the world.

To find out more information about the foundation, go on line: