Annual St. Baldrick’s Head-Shaving Raises $26,000

Doctors Dan Wechsler, left, and Waitman Aumann, get their heads shaved by their patients Jake May, left, and Douglas Hull.Doctors Dan Wechsler, left, and Waitman Aumann, get their heads shaved by their patients Jake May, left, and Douglas Hull.The 2015 St. Baldrick’s Foundation annual head-shaving benefit was hosted on Friday, March 20, at Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center.

The event, which was organized by Jessica Heath, MD, and Waitman Aumann, MD, Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Duke Children’s Hospital, attracted 30 shavees and raised over $26,000–more than doubling last year’s fundraising total.

Duke faculty and staff were not shy. In honor of their patients, many stepped up to the chair–including Dan Wechsler, MD, PhD, chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology.

“I volunteered to be a St. Baldrick’s shavee to help raise awareness about childhood cancer and to show solidarity with our patients who lose their hair as a result of chemotherapy treatments,” said Wechsler, who himself raised $1,255. “It’s important to help raise funds to support pediatric cancer research during these tough economic times when support from the NIH is low. St. Baldrick’s is a fantastic organization that is 100 percent committed to funding promising research to find cures for childhood cancers.”

According to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, there are approximately 175,000 children worldwide diagnosed with cancer each year. In the U.S., more children die of cancer than any other disease. Two-thirds of those treated will suffer long-term effects, including loss of hearing and sight, heart disease, secondary cancers, learning disabilities and more.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation works closely with leading pediatric oncologists, such as those at Duke, to determine the most promising research to fund. Every grant funded by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven non-profit, is earmarked specifically for childhood cancer research. Since 2005, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has awarded more than 820 research grants, totaling more than $154 million. This year the St. Baldrick’s Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to childhood cancer research being conducted at Duke by Wechsler. Previous Duke awardees include pediatric hematology-oncology specialists Corinne Linardic, MD, PhD; Jessica Heath, MD; and Oren Becher, MD.

2015 Duke Bald Devil Shavees include:

Donations supporting the March 20 head-shaving event are still being accepted. To donate to a Duke Bald Devil shavee, click on a name above or go to Duke Bald Devils. For more information on organizing head-shaving events or to volunteer as a shavee, visit St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Circle photo: Lauren Carter, right, hugs Duke pediatric nurse Amber Hammer after they have their heads shaved at the same time during a St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser at Duke Children’s Hospital on Friday, March 20. Carter, to date the team’s top fundraiser, has raised more than $7,000 for the non-profit organization dedicated to raising money to fund childhood cancer research.

Photos courtesy of Shawn Rocco, Duke Marketing & Communications

More at: Duke Medicine News