Hair falls for cancer cure

"More than 74 people went bald for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Monday in an effort to combat cancer. Residents from all over Oswego County gathered in the Campus Center at Oswego State to shave their heads and raise money for childhood cancer research. Together, they beat their original goal of $15,000 through online donations alone, event treasurer Sandy Pike said. That was without raffle ticket sales or walk-in donations.

""The main goal is to raise money to help eradicate cancer," Pike said.

"Each shavee raised money and found sponsors for the event, event organizer Dan Witmer said. Oswego State Athletic Department sponsored the event, which is in its fifth year on campus. Witmer said the community came together to prepare for the fundraiser.

""People kept volunteering. ‘I’ll do this, I’ll do that.’ And we got the word out," he said.

"Local businesses including Tim Hortons, Price Chopper, Subway and Kathy’s Cakes donated food for the event. Canales and Oswego Sub Shop donated a portion of their sales on different days to the fundraiser, Witmer said.

"In addition to individual volunteers, athletic teams from Oswego State also joined in the cause. The Men’s Minor League Hockey Team and the local fire department both participated in the event. The Oswego State men’s soccer, tennis, and lacrosse teams also went bald for bucks.

"For many shavees, cancer is a disease that hits close to home. Freshman Ed Flouton said he heard about the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser from his mother, an elementary school teacher. His father, uncle and cousin all fought cancer, and his sister is currently fighting the disease. He wanted to participate in the event to support his mother and to honor everyone in his family who was affected by cancer. He said that shaving his head was a good way to bring awareness.

""Everyone comes up to me, like ‘why’d you shave your head?’ It’s like word-of-mouth," Flouton said.

"College students were not the only people trying to get the word out. Emily Bradshaw, a local 10-year-old, said she got involved with the event after her brother participated last year. Bradshaw went online and read stories about children dying from cancer. She wanted to do something about it and raised over $3,500 through fundraising and donations.

""My aunt is battling cancer and my godmother died of cancer," Bradshaw said. She added that the event was a good way to remember her loved ones and to help people like them.

"Brian Buchanan, a principal for Fulton City Schools, shaved his head in honor of the children he works with.

""There are a number of students that I’ve had the pleasure of working with who have been affected by cancer," he said. "As a principal, there’s not much I can do for them."

"Buchanan said that it was also a good haircut.

"Shaving heads is not the only way the Oswego community is showing their support for cancer. Leah Sweeney and Nicole Lacy, two Oswego State students, belong to a group called Colleges Against Cancer. Sweeney said the group aims at organizing events that raise money for cancer research.

"One of the biggest events they help organize is Relay for Life. The American Cancer Society along with Colleges Against Cancer sponsors the all-night event. It aims at celebrating those who have suffered from cancer and at raising money for cancer research.

"All the efforts, especially St. Baldrick’s and Relay for Life, help, Lacy said.

""It’s incredible, especially seeing the little girls go up there [and shave their heads]," she said.

"According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 35,485 people in New York state died of cancer in 2007. About 15 of every 100,000 national cases involve a child.