On March 19, the third annual St. Baldrick’s fundraising event was held in the Memorial Union Ballroom.
Ian Kanterman, senior biomedical engineering student, started the event at the University of Rhode Island three years ago, alongside fellow student Vincent Evola.
“It means something to me personally,” Kanterman said. “When I was a child I was diagnosed with lymphoma… and that experience, honestly, changed my life completely. I always ask myself, ‘What would I be like if I didn’t have that experience?’… I want to use that experience to further a worthy cause like St. Baldrick’s.”
Kanterman’s goal for this year was to make the event bigger than it had ever been, and he hopes that this will continue throughout the next few years. In an effort to add to the event, Kanterman set up raffles and other opportunities to donate to children’s hospitals and children facing cancer.
“We’re trying to bring more incentives and reasons to be a part of it,” Kanterman said. “Service is interchangeable between so many different things… so I invited RhodyThon, Invited “Love Your Melon,” to write get well cards for Hasbro Children’s Hospital. We had a drawing this year, so we had different prizes students could win by either shaving their head, donating hair, or raising money, or even donating themselves.”
Each year the event honors children that have gone through, or are going through having cancer. Throughout the past three years, URI’s event honored Violet Graney, the daughter of Dean of Students, Dan Graney.
“We wanted to honor her and make sure that she was recognized for her fight, and that she got through it, and that she is in remission and she’s doing very well,.” Kanterman said.
Kanterman hopes that the event makes students aware of the ongoing battle that childhood cancer brings to many children across the world. By making students are of this and involved in raising money for it, the funds can be put towards research and treatment for many patients.
“Not many people realize how significant childhood cancer is that’s the whole mission of St. Baldrick’s, to raise more awareness on that, to raise more funds outside the government that go towards the very best of research,” Kanterman said.
This year the event raised over $16,000 with over 90 students volunteering to either cut their hair or shave their heads. Participants who didn’t shave their heads but cut their hair had the option of donating it to other non-profit organizations.
“Many of them donated to ‘Pantene Beautiful Lengths,’ which makes wigs for young women and older women who are battling cancer,.” Kanterman said.
Hoping to make the St. Baldrick’s event, the coordinators, Kanterman and Evola encourage students to get as involved as they can with the event by donating hair, fundraising and helping to make the event happen for many years to come.