By Andrew Wroblewski
Another year has come and gone, but for Commack High School the number keeps on rising. That number, as of press time on Tuesday, was $470,000 and it’s how much money Commack has raised over the last six years for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
An idea founded in Northport, St. Baldrick’s is an international, volunteer-driven charity that has raised over $154,552,703 since 2005 in research grants aimed at finding cures for childhood cancer through the simple act of head-shavings, which are hosted by communities all over the world in 22 countries.
This year, the Commack School District hosted its annual fundraiser in the gym of Commack High School on March 6 and saw 250 “shavees” go bald to the tune of $85,000, and counting, raised this year.
Lee Tunick, one of three organizers of the Commack event, said the St. Baldrick’s push has turned out to be one of the district’s most successful yearly fundraising efforts.
“Everybody was on the same page,” Tunick, a teacher at Commack High School, said. “It was a great day… Everybody had their hearts in the right place. This is also probably the most amount of girls we’ve ever have [shave their heads] before.”
One of those girls was 11-year-old Madison Adelman of Commack Middle School. The Adelman family as a whole has been plagued by cancer ever since 2011, Madison’s mother, Maria said. Maria’s two brothers and mother died from cancer over those last four years, and Madison was close to each of them.
Just this year, though, Madison had a surprise for her family – she wanted to shave her had as a part of the St. Baldrick’s cause and to feel what her uncle and grandmother went through. On Friday, Madison did just that.
“My mother would have been very proud of her,” Maria said. “This was completely her idea. I felt like she’s taught me something… I don’t think I could have gone through with it.”
While she reported that it was a bit strange that she no longer has a need for shampoo, Madison said she’s happy to have helped the cause of fighting childhood cancer. Her family raised $700.
“I was a little nervous at first, but [my family] was with me,” Madison said. Her dad also joined in as a surprise and shaved his head for the cause.
Other young girls had their heads shaved on Friday, Tunick said, and several others snipped off large portions to donate to Locks of Love, a nonprofit charity that accepts hair donations to provide hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the U.S. and Canada that suffer from long-term hair loss due to an illness.
Overall, said Tunick, “it was a wonderful event for the Commack School District.”