St. Baldrick's Day: Rowan students seek to raise $12,000 for pediatric cancer research

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Thirty-five volunteers—most of them students—who will shave their heads to raise funds for pediatric cancer research during St. Baldrick’s Day on Tuesday, March 27.

Finally, Brooke Golden has found a way to do her part in the battle against cancer. She’s going bald.

“Growing up, I’ve met many kids who have had cancer and there were just so many times that I felt powerless,” says Golden, a Rowan University senior who will be one of 35 volunteers—most of them students—who will shave their heads to raise funds for pediatric cancer research during St. Baldrick’s Day on Tuesday, March 27.

Organized by Rowan’s Student University Programmers (SUP), the second annual St. Baldrick’s Day event begins at 9 p.m. in the Pit of the Chamberlain Student Center. All proceeds will benefit the St. Baldrick’s Research Foundation. The “shavees” include three women—two current students and a recent alumna.

“Becoming a ‘shavee’ for St. Baldrick’s Day gives me a way to fight cancer,” says Golden, of Cherry Hill. “I no longer feel I have nothing to offer. I have my hair.”

Usually, Golden’s shoulder length hair—thick and wavy—is chestnut brown. But since she and her fiancée, fellow Rowan senior Lewis Bivona, surpassed their $750 St. Baldrick’s Day fundraising goal, they’ve been sporting green hair. Together, the pair—who have raised $1,000 thus far—will have their heads shaved in the Pit, a public affirmation of their commitment to the cause of fighting cancer in kids.

Collectively, the Rowan “shavees” are looking to raise $12,000. Thus far, they have pledges of $11,442. Last year, during the first St. Baldrick’s Day event at Rowan, shavees raised $13,000, including $2,000 the night of the event.

That bodes well for this year, says sophomore math major Ethan Bobo, who brought St. Baldrick’s Day to Rowan last year. Bobo, of Cape May, will be the first “shavee.” His head will be shaved by 13-year-old cancer survivor Jeffrey DeVico, of Cape May Courthouse.

The second “shavee,” Amanda Vincentini of Atlantic City, who earned her bachelor’s degree in music from Rowan in May, will have her head shaved by three-year-old Layton Hansen, of Cape May, who is in treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

The other shavees will see their locks fall to the floor courtesy of five barbers from “Hair 2 There” of Glassboro, who are all volunteering their time for the event.

In order to raise additional funds, there will be silent auction of items that will include a hockey stick signed by the Flyers’ Chris Pronger and a Danny Briere jersey, according to Bobo.

“Last year was a great first year, but this is the year where we’ll prove whether St. Baldrick’s Day sticks around at Rowan,” says Bobo.

“The novelty of the event is what got students’ attention last year, but the purpose behind it—raising funds to fight kids’ cancer—is what got us past our goal.”

Junior art and journalism major Heather Fesmire, of Ambler, Pa., witnessed St. Baldrick’s Day firsthand last year and felt compelled to participate this year.

“Bald is going to be a new fashion statement,” says Fesmire, whose family has a history of breast cancer. “I want to show other females, who are going through much worse with cancer treatments, that bald is beautiful.”

This year, Bobo is shaving his head in tribute to his paternal grandmother, Priscilla Bobo, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last September. Since then, she has lost her white, curly hair due to chemotherapy treatments. Bobo is hopeful his grandmother will feel well enough to attend St. Baldrick’s Day at Rowan.

“I want to get a ‘bald’ picture of the two of us,” says Bobo, whose brown curly hair measures more than seven inches. “I can’t wait for that. She’s a very tough lady. She’s been completely upfront about her treatments.”

For information about St. Baldrick’s Day at Rowan, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/Rowan2012.

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