Are you ready for St. Baldrick’s Day? At 6 p.m., Friday, March 17, the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation will hold its 18th Annual Shave for the Brave event at the Reno Ballroom, 401 N. Center St. The St. Baldrick’s Day event happens each year around St. Patrick’s Day, in conjunction with the national St. Baldrick’s Foundation. “Shavees” collect pledges; barbers shave the shavees’ heads at the event; the proceeds go toward childhood cancer research. The NNCCF says it has raised more than $3.3 million, with more than 4,000 heads shaved, during these events since 2006. Learn more We interviewed NNCCF events manager Jessica Lee via email; here is an edited version of her answers.

What is the history of the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer foundation?

The Angel Kiss Foundation was founded in 2000, in memory of a 5-year-old boy named Jarryd who passed away from leukemia. The Keaton Raphael Memorial, Reno, office was founded in 2004 in memory of a 5-year-old boy named Keaton who passed away from neuroblastoma. These two foundations worked side-by-side to help families battling childhood cancer. They joined forces to create the NNCCF in 2009, which expanded their reach and services to help more local children.

What does the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation do?

It is our mission to enhance the quality of life for children with cancer and their families by providing financial assistance and compassionate-support programs, while advocating for increased research funds and raising public awareness. We provide services to all of Northern Nevada, from Tonopah north. It is the only nonprofit in the region solely dedicated to childhood cancer. Each year, we help approximately 135 children. All programs and services are provided at no cost to the families, and there is not an income requirement to receive services. Northern Nevada families are encouraged to apply for assistance if the person is 25 or younger, has a confirmed cancer diagnosis, and is a resident of Northern Nevada.

How are you funded?

NNCCF is not state or federally funded. We rely on this amazing Northern Nevada community to do what we do with special events, sponsors and grants.

What is St. Baldrick’s Day?

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer- and donor-powered charity committed to supporting research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. Here’s how it started, according to the St. Baldrick’s website: “Tim Kenny issues a challenge to colleagues John Bender and Enda McDonnell: How will you give back in return for your own good fortune in business? Enda’s thick head of hair gives John the big idea—shave their heads for donations to raise funds for kids with cancer. The first St. Baldrick’s event took place at the former Jim Brady’s Bar and Restaurant in New York City. What began as a challenge between three friends on March 17, 2000, has grown into the world’s largest volunteer-powered fundraising opportunity benefiting childhood cancer research.”

What are some stories of St. Baldrick’s here in Reno?

We have had people dye their hair green for St. Patrick’s Day just for fun to shave their head. We have amazing people come out for this event, year after year, including Team Kylee’s Wish, who will be participating for their 16th year. They have shaved a total of 827 heads and have raised more than $685,000 for childhood cancer research. The entire family has shaved 35 times. Inspired by Kylee’s wish that no other child would have to suffer from cancer, her father, Kehl; her mother, Julie; and her siblings, Kehli and Kasey, have been leading a team in her memory for 16 years.

Are there any requirements or rules? What happens to the hair?

At St. Baldrick’s head-shaving events, shavees raise money for childhood cancer research by pledging to shave their heads in support of cancer patients, who often lose their hair during treatment. We don’t collect hair donations, but volunteers are welcome to shave their heads at St. Baldrick’s events and donate their hair to another organization. The barber will cut the hair into many small ponytails; then we will provide a baggy to secure the hair, as well as information on different organizations they can donate to. It’s a great way to help two charities at once!

David Robert is the photo editor of the Reno News & Review. In his first stint as the RN&R’s photo editor, he won multiple Nevada Press Association and Association of Alternative Newsmedia awards...

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