Kennedy Fowle, an 11-year old girl from Holly Springs, will be doing just that on Wednesday, April 14th at the Brickyard at NC State University when she shaves her shoulder-length blonde hair in solidarity with children around the world who are fighting cancer. “When kids get cancer, they have to have radiation and they lose their hair,” says Kennedy. “St. Baldrick’s Foundation raises money for cancer by putting together teams of people who shave their heads just like the kids they are raising money for.”
Why did she choose this particular—and rather drastic—way to raise money and awareness about this cause? “I was having a bad day one day, and I told my mom I wanted to shave my head.” Kennedy explains. “My mom said I couldn’t do it unless it ‘meant something,’ so I went online and found St. Baldrick’s Foundation that signs up shavees who raise money in pledges before they shave their heads.” The next time she asked her mom if she could shave her head, Kennedy had a cause to support, a date to do it, and the support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation itself, with whom she had been emailing. Her parents finally gave in and gave their permission.
“When you give your child a ‘You can’t do it unless…’ instead of an outright ‘no,’ and she comes back to you with the ‘unless’ all figured out, it isn’t fair to tromp on her initiative by refusing to let her do it,” her mom Lynanne Fowle laughs. “We aren’t excited about all her beautiful hair being gone, but it IS only hair, and it WILL grow back… and she is so empowered in this project that we are supporting her 100%.” A student at Jordan Lake Sudbury School in Apex, Kennedy is learning to initiate her own projects and find the learning opportunities within them. “It was great to see her take responsibility for this event and find a way to convince us that she was doing it for the right reasons,” her dad Mark adds. “She wrote a one-page essay explaining why it was important for her to do it. I couldn’t refuse her after that!”
St. Baldrick’s was started in 2000 by three reinsurance executives who decided to turn their St. Patrick’s party into a benefit for kids with cancer. Their goal was to raise “$17,000 on the 17th” but instead they raised almost $104,000 and the event quickly grew into the the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising program for childhood cancer research. The concept has caught on over the last few years, and now even the Carolina Hurricanes run an annual St. Baldrick’s event. The organization recently surpassed a huge milestone in March of 2010 when it raised more money for children’s cancer research in the first three months of this year than any other full year of fundraising to date!!
Kennedy’s goal for this event is to raise $500. As of April 10th, she is $300 shy of her goal. If anyone would like to donate to her cause, they can do so online at http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/participantid/404257. Donations will be accepted even after the event. The event on April 14th will be at 10:00 am in the Brickyard at NC State, and anyone is invited to come and watch the event! For more information about this event and Kennedy’s project, please email her parents at email@example.com.