The local St. Baldrick's Foundation held its annual hair-shaving project in Jackson Township.

JACKSON TWP.  As Jeremiah Evans looked into a mirror and realized he had lost all the hair from his head, the 8-year-old smiled, left the barber chair and joined his mother, Tiffany Dinkins.

Young Jeremiah was among the participants who sacrificed their hair to help fund the local St. Baldrick's Foundation annual drive to raise money to find cures for children's cancer. The event was held Sunday at the North Canton Tennis Club. Losing his hair reportedly was something Jeremiah, a student at Lake Cable Elementary School, did not have to be persuaded to do.

"He said he wanted to," Dinkins said. "He was very excited."

And there were scores of bald children inside the North Canton Tennis Club. Participants and their families bring pledges of donations to the event. St. Baldrick's Foundation awards grants to medical facilities, such as Akron Children's Hospital, to fund cancer research and treatment projects. This particular fundraising affair involved 22 hair-cutting stations, or barber chairs, set up on a stage.

"They are licensed barbers," said Sarah Butler, a volunteer event coordinator. "They are from a number of salons in the area that

"As of right now we have raised $165,299," Sarah Butler said. "But we still have all of the cash, the checks that were turned in today. I think we will hit $200,000. Our goal was $300,000. Before we came in today, we had 500 people registered to be shaved. That is the first time we had that many. And we can still take people that walk in and be shaved."

Butler mentioned the anticipated proceeds from vendors who had sales stations at the event. Also, Quaker State & Lube was to donate 20 percent of income from a sandwich sales stand the restaurant had set up.

A lot of participation has been coming from Jackson and Plain Local school districts. And lately, the North Canton City School District has been joining in. 

"We had both the superintendents of Jackson Local (Christopher DiLoreto) and North Canton (Jeff Wendorf) have their heads shaved," Butler said.

But many of the people receiving haircuts were children.

"We have kind of evolved into that," said Nancy Foltz, another volunteer for the St. Baldrick's Foundation affair. "We are glad for that. It is kids helping kids."

It was the death of Foltz's daughter, Abbey Foltz in 2000 at age 19 that planted the inspiration to launch a local fund drive for St. Baldrick's Foundation. Abbey Foltz succumbed to cancer.

"Some of it was grief, help people remember my daughter," Nancy Foltz said. "Do something good for someone else."

Based in Monrovia, Calif., the St. Baldrick's Foundation is a nonprofit organization which has put on fund generating projects throughout the nation and in other countries.

As a result of the local effort, "we have received grants at Akron Children's," said Dr. Jeffrey Hord, director of cancer programs at Akron's Children's Hospital. "We have one this year for additional data management support. We had a second one two years ago for our brain tumor program."

Reach Malcolm at 330-580-8305


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