Local woman going bald in support of cancer research

It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but those in a charitable frame of mind can consider giving some green to “St. Baldrick” by supporting a local woman, Ann Margaret Donato — who plans to shave her head in the name of research on childhood cancer.

While her cousin Amy Haddad and Haddad’s husband, Eric, as well as their family and friends, will be doing the same at the Rocky River Brewing Company in Ohio, Donato can’t make the trip, so she is doing her part for their team — the 64-member Westhaven Warriors — locally, in Ocean View.

Donato explained that she is raising the money for research on childhood cancer to support her cousin’s son, Shane Haddad, who is 7 and has been battling cancer for three years.

According to WestLife, a weekly newspaper covering the cities of Rocky River, Bay Village, Fairview Park, North Olmstead, Westlake, Westshore, Lakewood and Olmstead Falls, Ohio, the team’s first event, held last year, had a goal of raising $30,000. The Westhaven Warriors, in support of both Shane Haddad and another young girl battling childhood cancer, raised more than $80,000 in all.

According to Donato, this year, she has raised $1,255, and she has hopes to raise even more. The team has raised $78,009 — 91.8 percent of its $85,000 goal. She also said she wanted to “give a shout-out” to Ian Shaubach, who just celebrated his 10th birthday and, after reading about her, decided that he wanted to make a donation to her cause.

“Instead of presents from friends … he asked for donations!” said Donato. He raised $155 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. “Thanks Ian,” she said. “From the bottom of my heart, you totally rock!”

Donato said many people have been asking her about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and how their fundraising efforts break down. She said that “of every dollar raised, 82 percent funds research to find a cure, 16 percent goes to fundraising (Web site, phones, postage, printing, T-shirts, office space, staff, etc.) and 2 percent goes to administration (accounting, distributing and monitoring grants, etc.).

“St. Baldrick’s takes its responsibility to be efficient and good stewards of every dollar donated very seriously, and strives to put the most funding possible into the hands of researchers who can cure childhood cancers,” she said.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation was started in early 2000, when three friends and co-workers turned their annual St. Patrick’s Day party into a fundraising event, according to the group’s Web site, at www.stbaldricks.org. “St. Baldrick’s is home of the head-shaving event. It’s an easy and fun way to raise money for a very serious cause — like a walkathon, but without the blisters,” the Web site notes.

The mission of the foundation is to “find cures for childhood cancers and to give survivors long and healthy lives.” The site explains that they are the largest non-government funder of research grants on childhood cancer.

Donato said she will be getting her head shaved this Saturday, March 16, at Salon on Central in Ocean View, which has donated their space for the event. To help her and her team reach their goal, donations can be made by visiting http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/587745/2013 or by stopping by the salon from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

She thanked everyone who has already supported her and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation so far.

“It means everything to me to be able to support my family by participating in this year’s St. Baldrick’s Event,” she said. “I am hundreds of miles away from my home and my family, and it breaks my heart to not be there in person to help.

“It makes me feel good to know that I am supporting them and helping to raise awareness and funds to help end childhood cancer,” she added. “They need to find a cure. I pray every day for a cure. By supporting my efforts and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, you are supporting cancer research — the one and only way a cure will be found.

“I am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life, and I definitely want to give a big shout-out to my community here in Delaware,” Donato added. “The community has embraced my efforts and has been proud to show their unwavering support for my involvement with St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Thank you, friends.”

According to their Web site, The St. Baldrick’s Foundation coordinates its signature head-shaving events worldwide in which volunteers “get bald to stand in solidarity with kids with cancer and raise money to support lifesaving childhood cancer research.”

The site states that, from 2000 to 2013, more than 279,000 people — including more than 29,000 women — have shaved their heads at more than 6,700 St. Baldrick’s signature head-shaving events worldwide. They said that last year, more than 1,300 events were held and more than 56,000 volunteers, including more than 7,000 women, shaved their heads — the most in St. Baldrick’s history.

For more information on St. Baldrick’s Foundation, visit them online at www.stbaldricks.org.