March 12, 2013

Bald is beautiful at St. Baldrick's childhood cancer benefit

About 200 people voluntarily shaved their heads to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation at de Vere's Irish Pub in downtown Sacramento on Monday evening.

Friends encircled 7-year-old Derek Larson, reaching to touch his newly shaved head.

Inspired by meeting kids living with cancer, Derek raised $2,600 for cancer research by shaving his head and going door-to-door, according to his father, Ted, a cancer survivor.

Derek was one of about 200 people to voluntarily shave their heads and raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation at de Vere's Irish Pub in downtown Sacramento on Monday evening.

It was the fourth consecutive year the pub has hosted a head-shaving event to support a Southern California organization that sponsors childhood cancer research.

Another head-shaving in support of St. Baldrick's will take place at the de Vere's Irish Pub location in Davis on Wednesday. Organizers hope to raise $200,000 between the two events, according to owner Henry de Vere White.

"To all those guys holding onto their hair, they're not more manly than a 10-year-old girl who comes out here and gets a shave," said White, whose father, Ralph de Vere White, is the director of the UC Davis Cancer Center.

Paris Bakke, 13, was the first to take the challenge and face the razor when Supercuts stylists began shaving heads at 4 p.m. along the L Street sidewalk in front of the pub. Marie Graf of Fair Oaks said her grandson raised $82 by himself.

"That's a lot for a kid," she said, snapping pictures with a cellphone.

Christian Brothers High School collected more than $3,000 with 28 students, teachers and alumni shaving their heads under the team name "C.B. Baldies." Iris Perez, a 19-year-old UC Davis student, took pictures holding the locks of hair once connected to her head after going bald with her alma mater. "Other people were more nervous than I am," she said. "I weighed the pros and cons, but I couldn't think of any cons."

Aaron Davis, a seventh-grader at Sacramento Country Day School, said he has participated in the St. Baldrick's shave day for three years. He enjoys supporting the cause so much that he organized a similar fundraising event at his school and recruited eight other people to go bald with him, he said.

"It's cool to grow your hair for six months and shave it off," he said.

Stylists shaved 10 heads at a time, spending three to five minutes on each cut. Family and friends cheered and took pictures around the shaving tents.

Olga Howerton inspected every freshly shaved head before participants went home with a gift bag. Howerton, a stylist at Supercuts in Folsom, sported her own bald look after raising $27,000 for shaving her own 20-inch locks, she said.

"Your hair doesn't make you who you are," she said. "You just gotta rock the bald cut."

Call The Bee's Dan Hill, (916) 321-1067.

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