OSWEGO - When 37 members of the 2007 Oswego State men’s lacrosse team decided to shave their heads and raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation - to show their support for children with cancer and help fund research - the captains and then head coach Dan Witmer never dreamed their efforts would expand county-wide, or that now, in its 17th year, the annual St. Baldrick’s Day in Oswego County event is within striking distance of the million-dollar mark. “We raised over $11,000 that first year, and we thought that was amazing,” said Witmer.
Sixteen years of local head-shaving and fundraising has resulted in approximately $927,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. “That brings us about $73,000 short of the million-dollar mark, which we believe is doable for this year,” said Witmer. “In fact, seven of our last 11 years have seen us raise $72,000 or more.”
The Oswego event has moved from the VFW Post on Bridge Street to the Marano Campus Center, and then on to the Best Western Plus Hotel and Conference Center. This year’s event, set for Sunday, April 16, will be held at Curtis Manor.
“Our goal is to hit and surpass the million-dollar mark this spring, and we’re trying to pull out all the stops to help us get there,” said Witmer. “Whether you make a donation, register as a shavee and collect pledges, create a fundraising team, donate an item for our raffles, and/or serve on our planning committee, I’m asking the entire Oswego County community to help us reach this amazing milestone in our efforts to ‘take childhood back from cancer.’”
“We’ve had great support from all over Oswego County, and we’re asking for the community’s support to help us reach that million-dollar mark this year,” said committee treasurer Sandy Pike. “In the past we’ve had elementary schools, firefighters and police departments, Oswego County Sheriffs, the State Police, and University Police get involved. We’ve had families and friends of sick children form huge fundraising teams. We’d love to see a great turnout this year; hitting a million dollars would be pretty special.”
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a worldwide organization dedicated to raising funds for life-saving childhood cancer research.
It all began on July 4, 1999, when friends Tim Kenny, John Bender, and Enda McDonnell decided to challenge one another to see how they would give back for their “good fortune in business.” The inaugural event was hosted on March 17, 2000, at Jim Brady’s Pub in Manhattan, where $104,000 was raised by 19 shavees.
A second event the following year raised more than $140,000. After the tragedy of 9/11, the three founders decided to do more with their fundraising.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation was formally established as a 501(3)c organization in 2004, and by 2005 the organization had raised more than $5.3 million. Since then, St. Baldrick’s has raised more than $324 million, and currently supports more childhood cancer research grants than any other charity.
For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, go to www.stbaldricks/org
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