The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Annual St. Baldrick’s shave event a big success

Photo by Charlie Berman for The Lafayette
Members of lacrosse team get their heads shave to stand in solidarity with children battling cancer.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s annual Big Shave event at Kirby Sports Center took place Wednesday night as members of Lafayette’s men’s lacrosse, soccer, swim and track teams volunteered to shave their heads to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer.

Organized by Susan and Tom Heard ’91, the idea for a partnership between the school stirred in Sept. 2010 when the theater department put on a production of “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” to give hope to children going through cancer treatment. Their son, David, who had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, wanted to put a crane baby mobile in every children’s hospital in the United States.

“Around 2010, [the Lafayette theater department] hosted some crane folding parties and the students were stringing them and folding them. It became a real community event where the sports teams got involved too. They came down and folded cranes,” Susan Heard said.

In 2011, David passed away and the theme of the event began to shift. It became affiliated with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and after a couple of minor shave events across campus, the Lafayette men’s lacrosse coach reached out. Eventually, several other Lafayette teams began to get involved.

“I think this is at least nine or ten years,” Susan Heard said. “The event has raised anywhere from five thousand dollars up to over sixty thousand dollars. I don’t have exact figures, but I would say well over two hundred thousand dollars has been raised just through the Lafayette community. They have adopted St. Baldrick’s and they love the shave. All the teams come down and sign up right away.”

While the players on the men’s teams shave their heads, women’s sports, such as lacrosse, host massive fundraisers to raise additional awareness and funds.

“I have some people close to me that have been affected by childhood leukemia, so I am doing it in support and solidarity to them,” sophomore swimmer Sean Robinson said. “This is only my first year doing it. It’s obvious though that both Lafayette and the town support it. I think people here really enjoy doing it because it’s for a good cause.”

The event, which takes place during halftime of the last home men’s basketball game of the year, draws a significant crowd of athletes. For the teams that participate, it has become both an intimate team bonding exercise and tradition.

“I think it is amazingly welcoming, the community that continues to exist,” Susan Heard said. “David has been gone now for twelve years and it is just stunning really, the level of care and interest from students individually who come and approach me and want to talk, to the different teams and some of the different things we get to do related to banquets and things.”

While prevalent around Lafayette sports, the goal next for the organization is to get the non-athlete student population to be more involved. This has already begun to show as members of fraternities Delta Kappa Epsilon and Zeta Psi participated in the big shave.

“They can still sign up to our event and fundraise if they want to. That’s the point of this. The baldness is to stand in solidarity with the kids who have cancer, but it’s really the fundraising which fuels the research,” Tom Heard said.

“It really is amazing to us that twelve years later, David is still being remembered and that means a lot to us and that people have raised money for the kids who are battling today in his name,” Tom Heard said. “That really is something special because a lot of the time these events just come and go but this really has some legs.”

Disclaimer: Charlie Berman ’24 is the president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

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Charlie Berman
Charlie Berman, Sports Editor

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