St. Baldrick’s will not be deterred by a pandemic. The childhood cancer research fundraiser is recruiting teams this St. Patrick’s Day with the Sacramento head-shaving event, the St. Baldrick’s Shave Party, scheduled virtually for April 23. 

Sacramento financial adviser James Biller is a repeat St. Baldrick’s “shavee” and his kids, Anna and Jason, like to watch him go bald.
Sacramento financial adviser James Biller is a repeat St. Baldrick’s “shavee” and his kids, Anna and Jason, like to watch him go bald.

Participants seek financial pledges as they promise to go bald for St. Baldrick’s, which is usually held on St. Patrick’s Day. So far, 21 area teams have signed up to raise money for the April event, a partnership between the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance. The teams include the UC Davis Police Department and the UC Davis Pediatrics Shavees

More than $13,000 has been raised so far this year to fight childhood cancer with a goal of hitting $20,000 in the next month. Typically, the St. Baldrick’s Shave Party is held in person at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center auditorium, but COVID-19 safety precautions are prompting a virtual adaptation this year. 

Be a hero for kids with cancer!

This year, participants are asked to videotape their at-home shaves or come to Supercuts at 1589 W. El Camino Ave. in Sacramento on April 7, from 4-6 p.m., to be shaved bald. Videos of the head shavings will be collected and uploaded to the St. Baldrick’s event site in preparation for the virtual shave party on April 23. 

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-powered charity, funds more childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the federal government. Every two minutes a child in this country is diagnosed with cancer and one in five children diagnosed with cancer will not survive. Since St. Baldrick’s began, the five-year survival rate has risen from about 79% to 85%, but there are still cancers no child survives. 

Traditions keep participants coming back to do more

So far, James Biller, a Sacramento financial adviser, has raised the most as an individual participant: $4,518 out of a goal of $5,000. Biller has been participating as a St. Baldrick’s “shavee” for the past decade and said he does it because he’s grateful for the health of his own children, Anna (13) and Jason (10), and wants to do everything he can to end pediatric cancer. 

“I literally put a price on my head for a great cause,” Biller said. “It’s a fun way to advance a serious mission and that’s finding a cure for childhood cancer. Cancer may not strike my kids, but it could impact their children or the children of others, and no one should have to lose a child to this devasting disease.” 

Three steps: Register, fundraise and shave

Go to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center registration site to sign up for St. Baldrick’s. Shavees and donors are urged to get involved to make the virtual St. Baldrick’s event this year a success. To find out more or to schedule a Supercuts head shave on April 7, contact event organizer Catrina Arcularius at 916-276-5080 or email her at Catrina.Arcularius@childcancer.org.