For students in the Lower Cape May Regional School District, the challenge of raising money for pediatric cancer research is met with a dash of creativity and a wealth of bravery.
For the past four years, students in the school district have participated in St. Baldrick's Day. In the weeks leading up to the event, students raise as much money as they can, which will contribute to the school district's overall predetermined goal. Then, on the day of the event, children and teachers will shave their heads to show their support for children fighting cancer.
"In 2010, Paul Schulte and myself wanted to bring the event to Teitelman Middle School," said Anthony D'Aleo, a language arts teacher at the Richard M. Teitelman School.
That year, the district raised more than $26,000 for the foundation. This year, the district's goal is $40,000. In all, the district has raised more than $100,000.
Joining the students on St. Baldrick's Day are Denis Brown and DJ Tanner from Coastal Broadcasting System's two radio stations, 98.7 The Coast and 106.3 WJSE. The two radio personalities have formed a team to participate in the event, Coast Conquers Cancer, and they, too, will be shaving their heads.
Brown said the event hit home for him this year. He has a grandmother who was diagnosed with cancer and endured chemotherapy.
"It made me think it's a good opportunity to do some good," Brown said. "While it might not be specific to my grandmother, any time you can help raise money for cancer research is a good thing."
Two years ago, different DJs at the station shaved their heads at LCMR for St. Baldrick's Day; however, they have never raised money for the event before. This year, Brown said the team's goal is $5,000.
"I think the kids run a lot of (St. Baldrick's Day) on their own, which is really impressive to me," Brown said. The DJ also said the pervasive school community involvement on the big day is amazing, describing how the principal died his hair green before shaving it off.
Local hair stylists and barbers donate their time on the day of the event to shave willing participants' heads.
"Without students doing this, we don't have this event like this is," D'Aleo said. "It's incredible to see. This year, we have three junior high school girls shaving their heads."
St. Baldrick's Day will take place March 28 at the Lower Cape May Regional High School. High school students will watch the event live, while middle school students will watch on the district's news channel.
On March 21, Coast Conquers Cancer held a "celebrity bartending" event at the Bayshore Inn in North Cape May to raise money for its team. Celebrity bartenders included state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, members of county and Lower Township government, and radio station DJs.
The LCMR district will continue to collect money after St. Baldrick's Day. Visit lcmrschooldistrict.com to donate.
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