Among the more than 70 participants in Mickey Finn’s St. Baldrick’s event, a team of five boys from Libertyville’s Kenloch Park neighborhood raised more than $3,000 and shaved their heads at Saturday’s event.
“It’s really good that we’re helping kids. It feels really nice,” said Michael Hegwood, a seventh-grader from the team who has participated in previous years. “We have so many supporters, like friends and family.”
“It’s fun doing it with kids that I know, and it wasn’t really hard to get people involved or donate money,” said Tate Constable, 11.
Constable, whose brother died after battling childhood cancer, says his family has been involved with the charity for years.
This is the fourth year that Libertyville’s Jennifer Christensen has organized the event. She began the event after her daughter Tori, now 13, was diagnosed with a form of soft tissue cancer at the age of 6.
“She’s really my inspiration,” Christensen said. “I decided to do the event, and every year, it’s grown.”
Surpassing Fundraising Goal
This year’s donors and participants raised more than $56,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, surpassing the $45,000 goal. In 2011, the fundraiser raised $39,000.
Mayor Terry Weppler, a skin cancer survivor, kicked off the event by volunteering to be shaved by an 11-year-old cancer survivor from Gurnee. Shaving was performed on other participants by area professional hair stylists.
“I thought, ‘I have long hair, I might as well do it,’” said 9-year-old Kenloch Team member Aidan O’Sullivan. “I feel good. I feel really good.”
“I’m excited,” said team member Jonathon O’Hara before the event. His cousin was diagnosed with childhood cancer. “I really wanted to do something to help.”
The all-day event took place in a tent behind Mickey Finn’s. While it always has occurred during Mickey Finn’s three-day St. Patrick’s Day festivities, this is the first year the fundraiser occurred on St. Patrick’s Day. Event organizers believe that and beautiful weather contributed to the event growing substantially from last year.