The annual St. Baldrick’s Day event was held Feb. 26 in Kornhauser Library Auditorium, generating $9,800 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. This was the fourth year that UofL medical students hosted a St. Baldrick’s event.
In exchange for donations, the participants’ heads were shaved completely or they cut their ponytails to donate hair to make wigs for children who have lost their hair as a result of cancer treatment.
The effort is organized nationally each year by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, founded by three reinsurance industry executives, Tim Kenny, John Bender and Enda McDonnell, in New York. The first St. Baldrick’s event in a Manhattan pub was timed with St. Patrick’s Day 2000.
Today, St. Baldrick’s is believed to be the largest volunteer fundraiser for childhood cancer research and second only to the federal government in the amount of funding provided to pediatric cancer researchers. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s donors and volunteers have enabled the foundation to provide more than $127 million to grant recipients.
Some of that support comes back to UofL. In November 2014, the foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to UofL’s Department of Pediatrics’ Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation to provide support for a nurse coordinator for patients with neuroblastoma and sarcoma on clinical trials, providing them with additional access to those trials.
“The St. Baldrick’s Foundation grant helps children diagnosed with cancer to receive the best care here in Louisville,” said Kerry Powell McGowan, MD, pediatric oncologist at UofL. “With the grant we are ableto help more children and their families stay close to home to get the treatment they need.”
Donations to the students’ St. Baldrick’s effort are still be accepted online at https://www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/7714/2015.