RALEIGH, N.C.(WNCN) – According to the American Cancer Society, about 9,900 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2023. While survival rates over the last few decades have improved, ACS reports more than 1,000 of those children are expected to die from cancer in 2023.
It’s why organizations like the St. Baldrick’s Foundation have made it their mission to raise funds for lifesaving childhood cancer research.
Dixie Halberstadt is impressed by hundreds of people who turn out every year to shave their heads for childhood cancer research.
“It’s a very serious cause but we try to have fun with it,” said Halberstadt.
Halberstadt is the volunteer event coordinator for Glenwood South’s 18th annual head shave event this Saturday. Their goal this year is to raise $250,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. As of Friday afternoon, they’d raised about $118,000.
“One in five of those children won’t survive and St. Baldrick’s focuses on raising money to support grants and research to help fund a cure,” said Halberstadt.
The topic is personal for her. Halberstadt’s now 17-year-old son was born with neuroblastoma- a cancer of the nerve cells.
“We are one of the lucky ones with the fortunate outcome. We stay involved we so can help the families and children who are not as fortunate as we have been,” said Halberstadt.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation says they’ve raised more than $250 million for childhood cancer research since their inception in 2021. A head shaving challenge that started between friends has grown into an international event with thousands of participants.
Next to federal government funding, the organization says they’ve been the second largest funder for research grants.
“Needless to say having a child with cancer is really stressful. It is no understatement to say it is a life changing event,” said Halberstadt.
While she’s committed to the cause, the Raleigh mom says she feels moments of a survivor’s guilt for those who’ve lost children to cancer. In the end, she says the annual event is about hope.
“This year for St. Baldrick’s slogan is ‘Research is Hope’ and it’s absolutely true. Hope is what gets you through,” said Halberstadt.
The head-shaving event is scheduled for Saturday, March 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. While head shaving is the main event, it’s not mandatory to help. People are encouraged to show for support or to donate. Click here for more information on signing up for this event and future event or to donate.