Join the fight against childhood cancer.
Would you shave your head to save a child’s life? If you’re not quite that brave, would you donate for someone else to?
That’s the idea on October 14, when Firespring will host its thirteenth annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation (SBF) head-shaving event at the Mill in Lincoln’s Telegraph District, with all funds going to fight childhood cancer.
What is St. Baldrick’s Foundation?
SBF is the leading private fundraiser for childhood cancer research, second only to the U.S. Government. In a given year, they raise up to $40 million to support the most promising pediatric cancer treatments in the world. Since 2005, SBF has awarded more than $322 million in grants.
Saint Baldrick’s raises money in a variety of ways, but it’s best known for its head-shaving events, hosted on behalf of SBF by local organizations. Firespring has been hosting since 2010. It’s also been serving St. Baldrick’s through marketing services since 2007.
“We are so proud to help St. Baldrick’s pursue their mission, and this event is one of the highlights of our year,” said D.J. Dirkson, who leads Firespring’s in-house St. Baldrick’s team. “St. Baldrick’s is the kind of client that makes you want to get out of bed and come to work every day.”
How do SBF’s head-shaving events fight childhood cancer?
Once Firespring puts out a call for shavees, brave volunteers will start collecting donations to pursue an annual fundraising goal. Some shavees name a price for what it would take to rid them of their luscious locks, while others work without a set amount. During the event itself, the attending public can donate directly, or if they’re brave enough, pay $50 to participate, and let a professional barber go to town. Check out this year’s event page.
Firespringer Lindsay Kelly has been organizing the Lincoln head-shaving event with the help of a committee since 2010. She says that in that time, donors and volunteers have raised over $220,000 through 430 head shaves.
Lindsay remembers when her 10-year-old son volunteered to shave and raised almost $1,500. The next year, he raised over $1,800.
“We’ve had years where shavees helped us bring in almost $30,000 to support childhood cancer research,” she said. “And all of that money directly contributes to research and treatments that are saving the lives of kids.”
Honoring the families of children affected by cancer.
Because cancer has touched so many lives, SBF head-shaving events mean something a little different to everyone.
Firespringer Brophy Ringdahl – about to shave his head for the 10th consecutive year – is inspired by his younger brother’s successful battle with pediatric cancer at the age of six months, when Brophy was just 10. Today, Brophy wants other families to not have to go through what his family did.
“When you’re sitting there and everyone’s watching, it’s a little nerve wracking,” Brophy said. “But it’s fun to scan the crowd and see all the other bald heads, and the panic on people’s faces when they’re about to come up to get shaved. We’re making each other look a little silly, but everyone’s having a good time. I think about my brother and all the other families we’re helping, and it’s totally worth it.”
Visit the event page to read the inspirational stories of the kids and families who are being honored by St. Baldrick’s this year.
Make every year of donations count.
Firespringers Bridget Anderson and Ronni Lanham are veteran volunteers who use their personal and professional talents to make the Lincoln head-shaving a success. Both are well-aware that while the rest of the world seemed to slow down during the brunt of the pandemic, childhood cancer did not.
Bridget – who handles annual event promotion, among other tasks, talked about how COVID-19 caused a noticeable dip in fundraising power nationwide, while threatening to postpone the Lincoln head-shaving in 2020.
That just meant she and fellow Firespringers had to work even harder to pull it off.
In 2020, Bridget and her team hit the airwaves, blasted across social media and live-streamed the Lincoln event to Facebook. Despite all odds, the event managed to raise over $12,000.
“The show of support was amazing,” Bridget said. “The following year, in 2021, we moved to an outdoor space at the Mill Telegraph and got back to our usual format. We’re hoping for a big turnout this year to make up for some lost ground. It’s going to be an awesome evening.”
Ronni recalled some of her favorite memories over eight years of volunteering as treasurer. The highlight had to be when she solicited the crowd for over $4,000 to shave fellow Firespringer Aaron Grauer’s head and beard.
“Grauer had long hair and this long, bushy beard,” Ronni said. “The place was packed. I got up on the microphone and said ‘We need to get this guy shaved.’ So first we raised around $2,000 to shave his head, then we got $2,000 to shave his beard. I think his wife and kids didn’t recognize him after that, but he had raised $4,000 in one evening for childhood cancer research.”
How to donate, attend or get shaved in 2022.
Want to join the fight against childhood cancer? This year’s Lincoln SBF head-shaving will be held on October 14 from 5-7 p.m. at the Mill Telegraph in Lincoln. This is a free, family-friendly evening that’s open to the entire community.
To make a donation to one of 2022’s shavees, visit the event page. Firespring’s goal this year is to raise $10,000. To volunteer as a shavee, contact Lindsay Kelly. And be sure to check out the event Facebook page.
To learn more about St. Baldrick’s Foundation, visit stbaldricks.org.