(March 12, 2007) -- A large crowd converged at Tracy's Bar & Grill in ELB (Spring/Bellflower) on Sunday Mar. 11 to cheer over 200 men, women and children who had their heads publicly shaved bald to raise money to fight childhood cancer.
LB's "St Baldrick's" Day fundraiser was among the events held across the country "shaving the way to conquer kids' cancer."
The idea behind St. Baldrick's Day is straightforward: how much would you donate to see someone have their head shaved to find cures for childhood cancer?
This year in the LB and surrounding area, 214 local "shavees" -- individuals and teams -- have brought-in nearly $40,000 (caveat: running internet total still be compiled). ELB's Cubberley Elementary School has played a major, catalytic role in all this.
LB's participation in St. Baldrick's Day began through the efforts of local co-organizer Emily Lundi Mallett. She told LBReport.com that from a handful of Cubberley students a few years ago, the event has grown to involve roughly 50 Cubberley Cubs this year. The students found donors and raised money on their own and, yes, had their heads shaved. This year, Cubberley's Student Government also got involved, raising $1,000.
A running internet total still being compiled indicates "Team Cubberley" has raised nearly $9,000 to date. Cubberley Principal Michael Navia told LBReport.com that the several dozen now bald-and-proud Cubberley students are walking around campus wearing St. Baldrick's hats to the admiration of schoolmates.
Not to be outdone...the Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB) fielded a team. We're told that TALB's Executive Director Scott McVarish [who's reportedly caused some in LBUSD management to pull their hair out] was among the "shavees." [When we get photos of this, we'll post them here. Revisit this page, click reload or refresh on your browser.].
Other area teams named themselves My Three Sons, "Did UCA Baldman?" County Fire Battalion 18, CSULB's students for a cure, Lakewood Baseball, Little Company, Long Beach Memorial & Miller Children's Hospital, NC, Rancho-Starbuck, Sigma Pi, Team Hope, Team LaserPacific, Team Lighthouse, Team Odyssey and Team Thompson.
Students at Rancho-Starbuck Intermediate School in Whittier raised $5,333 after a student wrote an essay inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream Speech," adapted to focus on curing childhood cancer.
The net result of all these efforts was an emotion packed, uplifting event, a public display of solidarity with those who have had cancer and lost their hair due to treatments.
Eric Martin Lundi Holzem was Emily Lundi's nephew. He was diagnosed at age 9 with anaplastic astrocytoma, a brain tumor.
He died at age 11.
Eric's picture was prominently displayed on stage throughout the afternoon.
Eric's mother, Ruth Lundi Chadwick, spoke to the crowd. In a composed, powerful presentation she said wanted everyone to remember that Eric was here for 11 years...and was gentle, special, loving person.
Eric's Mom acknowledged the work of everyone in the event...and said she hoped their efforts would bring a future in which all children could be present in person, not on a poster.
The crowd applauded...and we noticed many of those doing so dabbed their eyes in the process.
Virtually everything was donated...from the "shavees'" hair on their heads, to Tracy's facilities, to event fencing, to balloons.
The LB Police Officers Association came equipped with hot dogs, hamburgers and off-duty officers to cook them. At $5 a pop, they brought in more money.
5th district Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, a nurse practitioner in addition to being a lawyer, commended participants and donors for their work. She indicated 4th district Councilman Patrick O'Donnell was also present in the crowd.
Among this year's "shavees" was Dr. Mark Roberts, director of the Jonathan Jaques Children's Cancer Center @ Miller Children's Hospital.
The Doctor is shaved.
He brought his young son...who was also shaved. They both got huge cheers.
Another "shavee" was Christen Marten, a speech therapist at Miller Children's Hospital.
She was one of the first to be shaved bald and KTLA Channel 5 captured the moment for its 10 p.m. news.
Minus her hair, she encouraged others undergoing the experience...
...and on leaving the stage was warmly congratulated.
Since starting the event, local organizers had seen donations grow annually, reaching a whopping $98,000 last year. The goal was to exceed $100,000 this year...and organizers said the estimated nearly $40,000 in donations received to date will be put to good use locally.
Information on how to donate via the internet -- and listing the LB area teams and individuals local "shavees" personally -- is on a separate page on the St. Baldrick's Day web site which can be accessed directly at: LB Tracy's Bar & Grill St. Baldricks Day Event.