In 1999, colleagues Tim Kenny, John Bender and Enda McDonnell asked each other a simple question: "What can we give back as a token of gratitude for our success?" And with that question, an idea was born. For this month’s Final Friday, Smith Haughey will be collecting Jeans Day donations to donate to the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants - St. Baldrick’s Foundation. For the past 18 years, St. Baldrick’s has been working towards conquering childhood cancer to ensure survivors can live long and healthy lives.
Every year, more than 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide. In the U.S. alone more children die from cancer than any other disease ― more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined. On average, adults lose 15 years of life to cancer while children lose 71. St. Baldrick’s focuses on raising money for research to help ensure children have the option to get married, have kids, create something beautiful, or obtain the education necessary to possibly discover the cure themselves.
Unfortunately, only 4% of federal funding is designated to childhood cancer research, while 60% of funding is provided by pharmaceutical companies, which is then used to conduct research for adults. However, thanks to the research funded by St. Baldrick’s, 90% of children with common forms of cancer survive.
There are a variety of ways to join St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s cause. The most common way (and what started it all), is becoming a "shavee." Events are held for volunteers to attend and shave their heads to show support and inspire others by raising money. Those interested can also create their own fundraisers, starting hero funds, creating memorials, advocating through Speak Up For Kids’ Cancer or joining Smith Haughey and involving your business or organization.
If you are interested in attending an event in the Grand Rapids area, the 4th Annual Grand Rapids St. Baldrick’s Foundation event will be held at 84th Street Pub and Grille in Byron Center, on March 5th from noon – 5 p.m. The event will include a silent auction and a raffle but, even better, Smith Haughey employee, Mick Connor, will be attending the event to show his support by shaving his head! If you would like more information about St. Baldrick’s Foundation you can visit https://www.stbaldricks.org/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss hosting an event or involving your business or organization.