(Gillette, Wyo.) "Brave the Shave" is an annual charity event around St. Patrick's Day every year. Participants have their heads shaved to show support to children fighting cancer, and raise money for research. It's a nationwide effort to benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a non-profit that is trying to focus more dollars in to curing all types of childhood cancers. According to their website, "all types of childhood cancers combined receive only 4% of the U.S. federal funding for cancer research." Since 1977, the survival rate for children’s cancer has increased to 80%, because of better available resources. While pharmaceutical companies may find putting money in to treating childhood cancers unprofitable, St. Baldrick's is hoping to fill the gap in funding for treatment. Companies like Basin Electric get together to bring awareness to this. They kicked off events this year in Bismarck, and have already have several fundraisers this month in Wyoming and South Dakota, as well. They aren't the only ones, though. Campbell County Fire Chief Bill Shank and wife Cindi Shank brought the event to Gillette. They've been actively involved with St. Baldrick's for over a decade, since their 11 year old was diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer. "Our daughter is a childhood cancer survivor," Chief Shank told County 17. "She was diagnosed in May of 2000 with Ewing’s sarcoma. Ever since we have been very involved with child cancer awareness and fundraising." Sarah is now cancer-free and fully grown, but the Shanks continue to raise thousands of dollars to help other families have a better shot at a success story, too. It's why 15 local firefighters are getting ready to shave this weekend, including the Chief himself. "My goal is to beat the Chief," said EMA Coordinator David King. "Currently I'm 5 bucks ahead of him. I've promised those I've solicited via email that I'll post my bald photo on my personal Facebook and the county website if we meet my $500 goal." As of today, he's at $410 on the CCFD's fundraiser page
which is way ahead of the Chief's $250. The hope is that the department can
reach a total goal of $5000. Cindi, who works with the Red Cross, has been
in Beaumont, Texas for over a week to help with flood relief, but intends
to be back for the event on Saturday. It starts at 6:00 p.m. at Fire
Station 1, next to the Rockpile Museum on 2nd Street.
Photo h/t St. Baldrick's Foundation