Big Shave aims to raise thousands for childhood cancer research


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St. Baldrick's Brevard 10th annual Space Coast Conquers Big Shave will return to Viera in March.

Courtesy of St. Baldrick Foundation

Every two minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer.

According to the National Pediatric Foundation, cancer is the No. 1 cause of death among children. Yet, research and treatment for the children is greatly underfunded — receiving just 4 percent of the billions raised each year.

As a national volunteer charity, The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is dedicated to raising the money necessary to fund promising research and find cures for childhood cancers. One of its biggest fundraisers will leave locals with a lot less hair.

St. Baldrick’s Brevard 10th annual Space Coast Conquers Big Shave will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 14 at The Avenue Viera at 2261 Town Center Avenue.

As individuals or as part of a team, participants commit to having their heads shaved to go bald for a good cause. Before the big shave, they raise money by collecting donations.

Through 2018, more than 538,000 heads have been shaved across the country, raising more than $35.7 million.

In Brevard County alone, about 3,000 heads already have been shaved in local events since 2011, raising nearly $2 million. The first took place in 2011 at Meg O’Malley’s in Melbourne with $75,000 raised. Last year, the event at Melbourne Square Mall raised a little more than $108,000. But, this year’s goal is the most ambitious yet at $250,000.

This year’s event organizer is Tom Neidert,  a district chief for Brevard County Fire Rescue.

“We are absolutely happy to have it back in Viera,” Neidert said. “People who haven’t come back for years are coming back for the 10th anniversary.”

Currently, just more than $13,000 already has been raised with 80 participants and 17 teams signed up.  And while shaved heads might be a common style choice for men — so far, it’s the women leading fundraising efforts with Theresa Carney of Melbourne having already raised $1,752.  Holly Mentillo, a teacher at Ocean Breeze Elementary School in Indian Harbour Beach, has raised $2,717.

But you don’t have to lose your locks to help the cause. Volunteers are needed at the event -— and donations are always welcome.

For more information about St. Baldrick’s Brevard 10th annual Space Coast Conquers Big Shave, go to stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/5744/2020

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