More children are lost to cancer in the United States than any other disease – in fact, more than many other childhood diseases combined. That’s why raising money for childhood cancer research is seriously important. But the ways members of the DMU community raise those funds are anything but serious: On March 22, University students, faculty and staff cut their hair, shaved it off entirely and took whipped cream pies in the face to raise funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-powered charity that supports pediatric cancer research.
At DMU, St. Baldrick’s Day is an annual fundraiser organized by the Student Osteopathic Medical Society (SOMA); it was among more than 1,200 such hair-cutting and head-shaving events that occurred nationwide this year. Participants collected pledges by committing to cutting their hair or going bald under the skilled hands of stylists from Sport Clips, a national partner of the foundation. SOMA’s fundraising goal this year was $12,000, which it exceeded by nearly $300.
“St. Baldrick’s Day is important because it demonstrates the impact students can have on the diseases we spend so much of our time studying,” says Jessica Briggs, a second-year osteopathic medical student, SOMA community outreach co-chair and president of her class. “By supporting organizations like the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, we have an impact in the future for pediatric cancer research and, therefore, the treatment of our future patients.”
The event is also great fun. DMU’s fundraising efforts included a bake sale and an auction in which people bid on the chance to “pie” faculty and staff. George Clavenna, D.O., an ophthalmologist and professor of specialty medicine, raised the most by pledging to match bids on his pie; students, faculty and staff piled on with donations totaling $800.
Briggs praises the many students who helped plan, organize and promote St. Baldrick’s Day and all the individuals who supported it.
“The amount of collaboration involved in organizing St. Baldrick’s Day highlights the impact a community like DMU can have,” she says. “To have classmates and colleagues raise thousands of dollars for this foundation is incredibly humbling. This collaboration and sense of community within the school is why I chose to come to DMU. It’s truly my favorite event of medical school.”
Thanks to Mahum Mirza, D.O.’20, for providing these photos of St. Baldrick’s Day!