Haven Gastropub Hosts Head Shaving

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Article and Photography by RACHEL YOUNG

11:30 am | September 30, 2013

Got hair? Over 60 moms, dads, kids, friends and heroes for kids do not after Saturday.

More than 60 volunteers shaved their heads in solidarity with kids with cancer at a St. Baldrick’s Foundation signature head-shaving event hosted by Haven Gastropub +Brewery to raise funds and awareness for lifesaving childhood cancer research on Saturday.

Surpassing their goal of raising $15,000, the shavees raised $29,161 prior to the event and continued fundraising during the event in an effort to raise at least $1000 more for a mom of a cancer survivor to shave her head for the second time.

Audra Wilford told the heart-wrenching story of finding out her 6-year-old son Max, age four at the time, had a brain tumor. Max is currently being treated for his brain tumor and saw improvements in August.

“We were shocked to find cancer is the number one disease killer of children. Immediately we found St. Baldrick’s Foundation. They have some of the most robust research in survivorship care as well as trying to fund non-toxic therapy. We support St. Baldrick’s in every way, all of our hope is invested in this research,” Wilford said.

Wilford shaved her head last year as part of the 46 Mama’s in the U.S. to shave their heads for the St. Baldrick’s foundation and to show her support for her son Max who they call “Super Max.”

Haven Gastropub’s Manager Matt Wooten was inspired to shave his head for the first time three years ago when he found out one of the server’s son Sully was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a tumor in his chest. When St. Baldrick’s stopped by the Gastropub he jumped at the opportunity to host an event.

“This is my third time shaving my head for St. Baldrick’s. It’s a great charity,” Wooten said. “Sully is now in full remission, so it’s come full circle and it makes all worthwhile.”

Sully Redding, age 9, was one of the honored kids of the day, bringing along his dad Thomas who shaved his head in Sully’s honor that day.

Daniela Bobadilla, an actress on the show “Anger Management,” served as a celebrity barber and helped shave several heads, including childhood cancer survivors. Junior Ruffin and Ralphie Segara, now grown men, survived cancer and are grateful for foundations like St. Baldrick’s that can help other find cures for other children.

Fulfilling a promise to a deceased friend, Randy Franco shaved his hair that he had been growing for four and a half years. A tear spilled down his face as his two long braids came off and he remembered 18-year-old cancer-diagnosed Valerie being one of his most inspiring friends.

“I couldn’t break that promise. This is for Valerie,” Franco said.

Stylists from Joseph Rene Salon and Beyond 21st Century Beauty Acadamey volunteered to shave the heads. Players from Chivas USA professional soccer team also came to help with the shaving and have their own heads shaved.

Three-year-old Connor Camp shaved his head with his dad Chris Camp for the second time this year.

“When I asked him if he wanted to do it again he was so excited. His comment was, ‘I want to help kids get better so they can play with toys,’” Camp said.

Several also helped raise funds even if they couldn’t shave their heads. At least 159 participants donated to the cause, with Amber Janke raising $4,132 on her own.

Worldwide a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes and one in five children diagnosed in the U.S. will not survive. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven and donor-centered charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research and funding the most promising research initiatives to find cures.

A researcher who is funded by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation came to share about the importance of the work St. Baldrick’s funds. Julie Wolfson, M.D. is a pediatric oncologist at City of Hope and a St. Baldrick’s Scholar who realizes the dramatic realities of childhood cancer and makes large efforts to create change.

“I am focused on improving outcomes in adolesents and young with cancer. The teenagers in our midst don’t have the same improvements and survival young children have. I’m trying to figure out why,” Wolfson said. “St. Baldrick’s gave me the opportunity to start a research career that I hope has many many years to come.”

In thirteen years St. Baldrick’s Foundation has raised $125 million to support research without the help of large corporations.

“Were extremely thrilled with the turnout for a first event at this location,” Traci Shirk said, representative of St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Anyone can host a head-shaving event or a “Do what you want” where people can volunteer their specialty passions to raise money for the Foundation. Learn more at http://www.stbaldricks.org