The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization designed to elicit support for children with cancer, made its annual appearance at Hofstra on Wednesday, April 12. Between the event held in the Sondra and David S. Mack Student Center last week and at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine a few weeks prior, the group raised over $28,000 and shaved nearly 60 heads.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation aims to raise money for children’s cancer research and treatment by recruiting volunteers to shave their heads in solidarity with cancer patients who typically lose their hair during treatment.
Thomas Kastiw introduced the event to Hofstra nine years ago and has shaved his head every year since. “I’ll be honest, the first year I did it was just to get a free haircut because I had atrociously long hair,” Kastiw said.
“So I was looking for a reason to shave it, and I found St. Baldrick’s Foundation through a friend and I was able to raise a decent amount of money, and then the following year I thought it was such a great event that I brought it to Hofstra. I got the hockey team to do it. Then, every year after that we made it a campus wide thing,” Kastiw said.
The event is hosted by the School of Medicine along with the Hofstra Roller Hockey Club, and Kastiw explained that it is held in the Student Center to be made a public spectacle in order to bring as much attention to the effort as possible.
“Having it in front of all these people walking by, it definitely creates a lot of interest, it creates a lot of awareness and it helps raise more money because everybody wants to help with children’s cancer research. It’s a great cause,” Kastiw said.
Gabriella Munoz, a first year MBA student, shaved her head for a third consecutive time for the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser this year.
“There is really not enough awareness in the fact that children’s cancer research is extremely different from cancer research in general. Although no one deserves cancer, I think that children least of all deserve cancer. It’s just ridiculous that it’s still a problem we have,” Munoz said.
Much of the leg work for Wednesday’s fundraiser was done by Patti Reilly – the senior executive secretary at Recreation and Intramural Sports – who deals with contracts, paperwork, organizing meetings and doing much of the behind the scenes work. She too appreciates the value of the foundation’s mission. “I have three sons and each one of them has shaved their heads. My youngest is here today,” Reilly said.
Roller Hockey Club member Brian Darmstadt, a sophomore marketing major, said this event is a team effort. Some members donate, some volunteer their time and others shave their heads.
“When it comes to hair, whatever – I can grow that back. It doesn’t really matter too much to me,” Darmstadt said. “I’m willing to shave my head to show that I’m with them, and I’m willing to donate money to help them out.”
He continued, “I do this event to stand with kids who suffer from child cancers to pretty much show them that they’re not alone. People will care and everybody will donate for their cause.”