Students, staff and parents filled Evergreen Park District 124 schools Friday, all in the name of juvenile cancer research. More than 400 supporters saw head shavings, Irish dancing and live music for the annual St. Baldrick's event.
Hosted by kicked their event during FOX's live broadcast.
"Every three and a half minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer," Katie told the audience. As a volunteer-driven charity, the St. Baldrick's Foundation is "committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives," according to the organization's website.
The Elwoods have been hosting the event for several years in the village and this year, gained the attention of Spark Energy, who donated $10,000 to the cause.
"Our tagline is 'empower what matters,'" said Spark Energy CEO Phil Tonge. After meeting the Elwoods, Tonge thought St. Baldrick's would be a wonderful way to help end juvenile cancer. Spark Energy will donate $25 to every Illinois household that switches to their service.
District 124 board member Dawn McNamara, a hair stylist, was one of the original St. Baldricks head shavers 10 years ago. This year, she turned the shaver on herself.
"I said 'if I'm doing this in 10 years, I'll shave my head.'" McNamara was one of the first few at Southwest to shed her tresses on the warm afternoon.
She shaves her head for a few friends and family, including her husband, who had a cancerous tumor 20 years ago that doctors said he wouldn't be able to survive. "He is a walking miracle," McNamara said.
had their event around the same time as Southwest, but on the other side of the village, hosted their St. Baldricks event, where school media aide Pat Cronin shaved her curly, fluffy locks. "I do it every year," Cronin told Patch earlier without a flinch. Principal Jeff Nightingale shaved her head.
Ths Stock Yard Kilte band made their way to both schools, circling around students as they clapped to the bagpipes and drums. Special Guest Skates, Chicago Wolves mascot revved up the Northwest crowd and gave out goodies.
Many kids who got out of school early went into District 124 schools to support friends, family and get their heads shaved. EPCHS teacher Ben Nesler said he's excited to have his students participate next year.
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