By Johnny Martin, Reporter
The peer counseling class at Clovis North High School hosted its eighth annual St. Baldrick’s event May 18 to help raise awareness for pediatric cancer.
St. Baldrick’s was founded on Independence Day 18 years ago to help raise awareness for childhood cancer. According to its website, Tim Kenny issued a challenge to his colleagues John Bender and Enda McDonnell: “How will you give back in return for your own good fortune in business?” That challenge and McDonnell’s thick head of hair gave Bender the idea so set up an event to shave their heads for donations to raise funds for kids with cancer.
“We created our annual event so we could have a head shaving event to help raise awareness for cancer,” Senior Brandon Liu said. “A lot of people ask us like, ‘Why are you shaving your head? What is that supposed to show?’ So really it’s for us to raise awareness and get people to ask us why we’re bald, and then we get to tell them about childhood cancer.”
Liu was instrumental in getting this year’s event set up as he got eight professional hair stylist to come out to Clovis North that day at lunch to help make the event happen.
During the event, 47 total people stepped forward to participate in this year’s head shaving event: 27 boys shaved their heads, 19 girls cut eight inches of their ponytails to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths and one girl even stepped forward and had her head completely shaved to help raise awareness.
This year’s event also featured a “first time” as Andrew Eguia, one of the custodians on campus, stepped up and had both his head and beard shaved all in the name of awareness for the great cause. He was the first to do both in the eight-year history of this event.
“The most rewarding part is seeing all these people come together just to raise awareness of a similar cause,” Liu said. “And for us to assemble in this way it’s just cool for me to see, and these are my high school peers so that’s what I really like about this.”
At this year’s event, the peer counseling team also welcomed two honorees who have both overcome childhood cancer and honored them.
Savannah Gomes, 26, was one of the two honorees at this year’s event. She was diagnosed with cancer when she was 16 but after a battle through chemo and radiation she was able to overcome the disease.
“I love the peer pressure that happens out here, ‘Come on shave it bra,’” Gomes said. “I was in high school when I was diagnosed so to see all these high school kids really wanting to be involved, and wanting to be involved in childhood cancer and show that they’re on their side is really fantastic. Being bald in public really stands out so to have all these kids that are willing to go without hair for a couple of months is really awesome.”
Gomes has been involved with St. Baldrick’s ever since it came to the valley back in 2009.
The peer counseling team set the monetary goal for this year’s event at $20,000 and there is still time to donate. For an opportunity to donate to the Clovis North fundraiser event and for more information on the St. Baldrick’s Foundation visit www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/8585/2017.