There are a lot more bald heads, runny noses, and warm hearts walking around the Central Peninsula this week, as more than 50 volunteers went bald for the cause of fighting childhood cancer and participated in the 3rd annual St. Balderick's Foundation event to raise money for childhood cancer research. Men, women and children bravely volunteered to have their heads shaved in exchange for donations so that one day cures can be found and childhood cancer becomes a disease of the past. A couple of years ago Blair Martin of the Diamond M Ranch says he was looking a bit shaggy when he heard about the St. Balderick's event and Locks for Love and decided he'd go hippy for the cause, "I didn't want to just cut the hair off and throw it away so I figured in a couple of years it might raise more and be of use to someone who had lost their hair due to cancer," said Martin. By the time Blair went on stage to be sheared he had raised nearly $1,000 for the cause and yielded four nice braids of hair to be donated to Locks of Love.
Approximately 50 others followed suit, none with as much hair as Martin, and some wishing they could still grow hair on top gave up what little they had left on the sides. Even young cancer survivor 8-year-old Marcus Yamada who has lost his hair once already due to his chemotherapy, saw what was going on and wanted to join the other kids helping kids with cancer. Karina Peterson of KTVA Channel 11 Eyewitness News, a Soldotna High School graduate came home for the event with her news crew and interviewed Marcus for her 10:00pm report, "My nephew was here to shave his head tonight so we came down to join the cause, it's hard for our news team to get down to the Peninsula due to the logistics and distance, but this was something we just couldn't miss and we need to help get the word out that cancer is the number one killer in Alaska and we're here to help the kids find a cure," Peterson told the Dispatch.
As of the Sunday following the event the local St. Balderick's had raised about $27,000 of their $30,000 goal, a great effort, but Marcia Jacobs and her supporters didn't stop there, by Wednesday the total was passing the $29,000 mark. And at Thursday's Soldotna Rotary Club meeting there were a lot of bald heads and others who were happy to be fined for someone else taking their shaving for them all of which was added to the St. Balderick's efforts. By Thursday evening Marcia Jacobs, who lost her first daughter to cancer and is now an event organizer proclaimed, "That means we've made it and I just am certain that working together one day we will end childhood cancer once and for all." Other event organizers from Central Emergency Services along with dozens of courageous volunteers from the Soldotna Police Department and three other childhood cancer survivors to make the event a great success. In addition to head shaving, the inspiring evening featured a ceremony to honor childhood cancer survivor heroes, a delicious donated corned beef and cabbage dinner, and local Bagpiper Steve Adams led a parade of participants to the center of the Soldotna Sports Center arena where Kenai Fire Chief Mike Tilly's head was shaved for cash, followed by a CES vs. Kenai River Brown Bears fire hose tug of war. Skates proved superior on the ice to spiked boots and the Brown Bears iced another victory and community service effort. Childhood cancer strikes approximately 12,400 kids each year in the United States; that's about 108 Alaskan kids each year. For more information about the local St. Balderick's event, visit: http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/event_info.php?EventKey=2009-56
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