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News Maryland Harford County Bel Air

St. Baldrick's event for childhood cancer Saturday

Members of the community are encouraged to come to Looney's Pub in Bel Air on Saturday and shave their heads to show solidarity with children and families dealing with childhood cancer.

"Anybody can get together and put together a team, or just get involved [individually], work to raise money for this cause," Dylan Baumgardner, event organizer of Saturday's fundraiser for St. Baldrick's Foundation.

St. Baldrick's is a nationwide organization – largely supported by volunteers – dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research.

The organization's website notes 175,000 children around the world are diagnosed with cancer each year, and more children in the U.S. die from cancer than any other childhood disease.

"By working closely with leading pediatric oncologists, we determine the most promising research to fund and create funding priorities to make the greatest impact for children with cancer," the website states.

A number of head-shaving events take place each year in communities across the country. Participants can either get their heads shaved or raise funds for St. Baldrick's on a team or individual basis.

Baumgardner and a group of his friends put together a head-shaving event in College Park last year in honor of their friend Andrew "Drew" Eilbacher, a member of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, who died July 2, 2011, of complications from a brain tumor.

He was 24 years old.

Baumgardner, who is a firefighter/EMT with Bel Air, said last year's event raised "just under" $27,000 for St. Baldrick's.

He wrote in a letter to local news organizations that more than 150 volunteers worked to raise the money – about 100 were "Shavees," volunteering to get their heads shaved.

Baumgardner said Monday his group's goal this year is to raise $30,000. More than $15,000 has been raised.

Contributions can be made online at http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/belair. Participants can also register in advance at the website.

Baumgardner said he and his friends will be honoring Eilbacher Saturday, but other teams and individuals can honor someone who has died from cancer, or who is fighting the disease, or is in remission from it.

Although organizers encourage participants to raise money for St. Baldrick's, they can also just get their heads shaved to show support.

The event takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday; in-person registration begins at noon. Looney's Pub is at 312 S. Main St. in Bel Air. For more information, e-mail dylangrandview@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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