LCMR students and staff cut hair, raise money for cancer research

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photo by Jen Marra photo by Jen Marra

LOWER TOWNSHIP - A group of teenaged boys dressed in green T-shirts stared at themselves in a large mirror after getting their heads shaved Friday in front of hundreds of people in the high school auditorium.

Some of them seemed unsure of themselves but proud. One student said it was the first time he got his head shaved and that it felt strange.

Around 70 high school and middle school students, administrators and staff members got their hair shaved off or shortened during the fifth annual St. Baldrick’s event Friday, March 28. They raised more than $38,000 for childhood cancer research.

Lower Cape May Regional High School science teacher Dave Pacevich said he hopes that the students look beyond their appearance and see the kind of charity work they have accomplished.

In five years, the annual St. Baldrick’s event has brought in more than $128,000, according to event coordinator and English teacher T.J. Belasco. He expected to exceed $40,000 this year.

Some participants on March 28 got their heads shaved for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation or hair trimmed to be given to Locks of Love.

The St. Baldrick's Foundation provides more childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government, according to its website. Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

Jon McDowell of Cape May, a 19-year-old senior, said he was glad to have his head shaved.
“It feels good. It feels good to help kids,” he said.

Senior Katie O’Neill of Cape May praised the students, especially the girls who got their heads shaved.

She spent Friday afternoon taking pictures of the event after being enlisted by Belasco.

“It’s great. It is just a lot of positive energy,” O’Neill said.

The event was also a hit with Lower Cape May Regional District staff. Edie Vito of Cape May Court House, who works in food service at the district, got her head shaved.

Vito said she is glad people donated money, particularly with the shape of the economy. During the event, students dressed in green T-shirts carried large green-decorated canisters to collect donations.

Students also raised money by lobbying family and friends, beginning around January.

Witnessing students stepping for the event makes teacher Dave Pacevich “very proud to be part of Lower Cape May Regional,” she said. Pacevich, of Villas, has participated in the event for two years.

This year he made his involvement personal. A family friend from Pennsylvania died in September, 2013 from prostate cancer, so Pacevich decided to make the March 28 St. Baldrick’s event in honor of him.

Belasco said next year’s St. Baldrick’s event will be even bigger and better. He hopes the event inspires students to carry on charity efforts.

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