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Get ready to shave your head in Roseville for a cause

St. Baldrickā€™s event keeps the fight against childhood cancer local
By: Brittany Fuller for the Press Tribune and Granite Bay View
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WHAT: St. Baldrick's head-shaving event

WHEN: March 7 at the Westfield Galleria at RosevilleĀ 

FOR INFO: Contact Tamara Coil at (916) 757-6133

Some people will purposely go bald next month. They will get the drastic makeover because they want to raise funds to support research efforts to find a cure for childhood cancer.

“Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes. In the U.S. more children die of cancer than any other disease,” said Tamara Coil, marketing coordinator for the Keaton Raphael Memorial (KRM). “With less than 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget directed to childhood cancer research, KRM and St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraising events are vital to continue saving lives against this devastating disease.”

Established in 1998 following the death of 5-year-old Keaton Raphael who battled Neuroblastoma for nine months, the non-profit agency serves as a positive living legacy for other children and families battling cancer throughout Northern California.

According to Coil, KRM partners each year with St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise funds for childhood cancer research, as well as help families affected by childhood cancer by providing emotional, educational, and financial support.

“Our goal is to reach every family with a child battling cancer and improve their quality of life and embrace their will to survive,” Coil said, adding that their vision is to help all children grow up cancer free.

“KRM’s St. Baldrick’s campaign is one of the top four nationwide,” says Coil. “(KRM) has raised more than $507,000 and shaved more than 1,000 heads.”

The partnership with St. Baldrick's Foundation was formed 12 years ago. Each March the foundation hosts head shaving events throughout Roseville and Sacramento at local schools, restaurants and businesses.

At each event, volunteers raise funds for cancer research by obtaining pledges in support of their decision to go bald.

The concept for the fundraiser started in 2000 with a challenge between two businessmen: John Bender and Enda McDonnell. Their colleague, Tim Kenny, challenged the men to shave their heads as a way of raising funds to find a cure for childhood cancer.

Since then, participates have helped raise more than $5.2 million.

Last year the St. Baldrick’s Foundation hosted 1,300 events, which netted more than $1,000,000 for UC Davis Cancer Center’s research efforts.

“Because of the partnership with KRM and St. Baldrick's Foundation, a large portion of the dollars raised through the “get bald” events go to UC Davis’ Comprehensive Cancer Center to support research and families affected in our own community,” said Coil. “KRM’s 2014 St. Baldrick’s Campaign is one of the top four nationwide. Each event each year is unique,” Coil states.

While the St. Baldrick’s Foundation focuses on fundraising, the Keaton Memorial provides educational and emotional support to families struggling with childhood cancer – from diagnosis and treatment to survivor status.

Social workers at the partnering hospitals help to identify families that would benefit from financial support, Coil added.

Most referrals are for financial support, although they encourage families to contact them for educational and additional resources as well.

“Regardless of the type of referral, all families receive a Hope Chest, which includes a $500 grant. We are the only organization that provides cash in this unique way,” said Coil.

In addition to the St. Baldrick’s events in March, there are other local events hosted throughout the year, including the Chipping Away Golf Tournament and Big Day of Giving Campaign in May, Funderland Family Event in June, Go Gold Childhood Awareness Month and the Third Annual Kaleidoscope in September.

Donations can be made at any time of the year on www.childcancer.org/donate. Corporate and company giving options are also available.

“Childhood cancer has improved over the years. However, it is still affecting too many children and families,” said Coil. “The support of communities and organizations like KRM is what will eventually put an end to this silent killer and give our children the life they deserve to live.

For more information about St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraising events in March, visit www.getbald.org. To support the Keaton Memorial Foundation, visit www.childcancer.org.