Participants shave their heads and help raise funds for childhood cancer research. | Photo by Ty Lockhart

More than 75 Louisvillians will voluntarily shave their heads Sunday, March 24, to show support and raise funds for childhood cancer research.

The annual event, which is part of the nationwide St. Baldrick’s movement, will take place this year at Mile Wide Beer Co. and feature a boxing theme, complete with boxing gloves and a boxing-ring-like stage. Titled “Knock Out Kids’ Cancer,” the event’s goal is to raise more than $100,000.

If you’re curious about the prevalence of childhood cancer, here are a few facts about the widespread disease, courtesy of St. Baldrick’s:

  • More children are lost to cancer in the United States than any other disease.
  • Before they turn 20, about one in 285 children in the U.S. will have cancer.
  • Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes.
  • One in five children diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. will not survive.
  • In the 1950s, almost all kids diagnosed with cancer died. But because of research and technology, today about 90 percent of kids with the most common type of cancer will live.
  • While many adult cancers can be diagnosed early, in 80 percent of children, cancer has already spread to other areas of the body by the time it is diagnosed.
  • Only 4 percent of U.S. federal funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research.
  • Since its beginning in 2000, St. Baldrick’s has raised more than $258 million.

Locally, our St. Baldrick’s event has raised more than $225,000, and organizers hope to add another $100,000 to that number to help fund two clinical trials. Vicki Brandt, who works as a litigation manager for Texas Roadhouse, is the lead event organizer, and she tells Insider that a lot of work is put into the fundraiser to make it more of an “experience.”

Participants can be all ages. | Photo by Ty Lockhart

This year, she’s looking forward to the various recognitions they are planning for return participants, as well as getting to know the newbies.

“It’s about educating those who don’t understand the horrific statistics of pediatric cancers and why funds are needed for research, while knowing I did my best to provide a few hours of fun for those who have lost children or who may have to go to a cancer ward on Monday morning,” she adds.

Brandt says Texas Roadhouse has supported the event since she took the reins in 2017, which helps her cast a wider net in terms of securing volunteers, getting the word out and stepping up the experience.

“I do my best to educate my volunteers on the who and what of the foundation, and I spend as much time as I can learning the stories of our shavees and volunteers,” she says. “We partner with groups like the League of Mascots to enhance are already energized atmosphere. We want everyone to feel like we know them. I think our attendees appreciate all of those factors.”

“Knock Out Kids’ Cancer” will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, at Mile Wide, 636 Barret Ave. Shaving will begin at 1:15 p.m., and it is free to attend.

Another local St. Baldrick’s event will be held on Saturday, April 13, at Georgetown Elementary School in Georgetown, Ind. It’ll include the Hope for Harper team, which Insider shared the story of in 2015. So far, the team has raised more than $2,100 toward its $5,000 goal.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."