Crowd gathers in hopes of ridding childhood cancer

A group gathered at Nine Irish Brother's on Sunday afternoon with one goal in mind - ending childhood cancer. WLFI/File Photo
A group gathered at Nine Irish Brother's on Sunday afternoon with one goal in mind - ending childhood cancer. WLFI/File Photo

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every two seconds. But a group in Lafayette is trying to lower that number.

A group gathered at Nine Irish Brother’s on Sunday afternoon with one goal in mind: ending childhood cancer.

While some came out for the food, raffle prizes and music, some came out to make a point by shaving their heads.

“The children that have cancer often lose their hair because of treatments,” volunteer event organizer Heather Stenger said. “They don’t have a choice in that, but we do so we shave our heads to tell them we understand and we’re standing with you.”

The event raises money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which provides grants for childhood cancer research.

To this date, the foundation has shaved 450,000 heads and held over 10,000 events worldwide.

Stenger said she started working towards raising awareness as a way to honor her mother.

“She died very suddenly in 2013 and childhood cancer was her greatest charitable passion,” said Stenger. “So a year after she died my friends said they’d help me out and we started this event as a way to honor her memory and to continue on fighting for a cause that she really believed in.”

Stenger said she plans on having her head shaved to raise money to fight childhood cancer.

“We hope to see better treatments where kids maybe might not lose their hair, they might not get sick, more children will survive,” Stenger said.

Over the last three years, more than $30,000 has been raised at the event in Lafayette.

Stenger said the goal for this year was to raise $6,000. At this point, they are well over $9,000, with more to come on Sunday.

Renee Poselwait is a first-time “shavee” and was ready to have her head shaved.

“A little nervous, but excited. And my hair has been growing out since the end of March, I’m ready for it to come off,” said Poselwait.

Colleen Sheehy was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer when she was 16.

She raised nearly $5,000 this year for childhood cancer research.

“I heard about St. Baldrick’s and the opportunity to raise money for children who do receive diagnoses more severe than mine and by no choice of their own, lose their hair,” Sheehy said. “I wanted to jump in and help right away.”

She also braved the scissors and clippers and had her head shaved. She even donated her hair.

“I’ve been extremely humbled by the amount of support people have extended,” said Sheehy. “It just makes me feel like the cause is very special and like what I care about the event is also very special to other people.”

Stenger said, “Every little bit that we can do can help children across the country, across the world, and right here in our own community.”

Stenger said she anticipated over 100 people to have attended this year’s fundraiser.