Once upon a summer time in a city of two towers, three guys named Tim, John, and Enda did well for themselves and decided to give back. But how?
They decided to shave their heads for donations to fund research for kids with cancer and the next annual St. Patrick’s Day party was the perfect time to do it.
March 17, 2000. 17 heads. $17,000. This was the plan and the goal.
They proceeded and instead of reaching their goal, they’d exceed it significantly! Instead of the 17 and 17,000, they’d end up with 19 shaved heads and $104,000.
The party was so successful that they did it again the following year and raised $140,000.
And then the Fall came and the two towers fell in their city and lives and friends were lost in that city, yet the men moved on unshaken in their goal for children.
The next year had 37 events…not 37 heads, but events, and they reached their first $1 million.
Many who shaved were the first responders… the men and women who ran to rescue at the two towers, who run to rescue every day, the men and women who answer the panicked parent calls for the bald cancer children, the men and women who faithfully serve the country… They shaved their heads and stood for kids with cancer on military bases. This is heart and soul worked out with a razor. This takes the hard and sad markings of a disease and turns it from a sign of “other” to one of greatest courage and cause.
These men with this March idea would go on to become an independent foundation and begin funding Fellows – researchers who worked to better treatments and change the future for kids with disease. More fellows and researchers every year. More ideas.
The shaving events continued to grow into the hundreds and the dollars into the tens of millions and the most respected in the nation gathered for a research summit to discuss priorities and goals and quality of life for the littles and in 2012, as the ambulance rushed us in and we heard “There’s a large mass…” and our lives changed forever, this now national foundation, named for the marriage of the worlds “bald” and “St. Patrick’s”, this huge thing born of an idea to give back, it reached $100 million.
And then it gave back as it did every year…this time, the fellows included a young doctor in Chicago who was about to meet Chase and fight for his life. And it became personal.
Each year, the foundation chooses 5 children to be their face and story. Four living and one forever in our hearts – to represent the current truth of the fight that 1 in 5 will not survive. Some of them shave, and some of them can’t…because they have no hair to share. But they all step forward, look the cameras and the papers and the people right in the eyes and say “This is me. This is who I am because of research and the need of it.” Sometimes, the picture painted isn’t pretty, but the children are always beautiful in their struggle and their open hearts.
And so, when your social media blows up in March with donation requests, invitations, and people in bars and on stages, covered in green aprons and crying and shaving and holding loved one’s pictures and hands… This is why. Because almost two decades ago, three guys had an idea.
Around the world, a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes. This is our March, our year, and on some level… our life. We invite you to come with us.
[All St. Baldrick’s history courtesy of the St. Baldrick’s website. To read more, click here.]