Go bald, or green, for St. Baldrick’s
St. Baldrick’s event coordinator Jennifer Kelsch prepares for the event with her son Timmy and daughter Katey and Medford Elementary School principal Margherita Proscia.

Adv/Allegrezza

Go bald, or green, for St. Baldrick’s

Story By: NICOLE FUENTES
3/8/2018


 

Eight-year-old Timmy Kelsch has been growing out his hair, gearing up for his fourth St. Baldrick’s Foundation shave with his mother and event coordinator, Jennifer. Medford Elementary School has hosted the fundraiser for over 10 years; South Ocean Middle School hosted for the first time last year and now both will have events this year.

After a year without a Medford volunteer, the event was sorely missed. That is when Jennifer Kelsch, mother of two and PTA member, stepped in to help coordinate Medford’s event, after having attended shaves at Napper Tandy’s Irish Pub, the original event spot in Northport, and the event at Medford two years ago.

“It was always associated with Medford Elementary,” said principal Margherita Proscia. “We are glad to have it back.”

So far, Medford Elementary has raised over $2,000 as part of their effort to raise $7,000 for childhood cancer research. Ten shavees have already signed up and Proscia said walk-ins usually keep the count going.

Once the $2,500 mark is hit, superintendent of schools Dr. Michael Hynes has promised to shave his beard in support of the fundraiser. “I’m just thankful we have so many people in our loving community who are willing to help fight cancer,” he said. “This event is second to none.”

The Medford Elementary PTA is asking the community to join them on March 14 in the elementary school little gym, whether they decide to shave their head, volunteer or donate. Those who are not sure about going bald, like Timmy’s sister Katey, 5, will be able to get green hair extensions to support the effort — in line with St. Patrick’s Day. The second event at South Ocean Middle School will take place later in the month, on March 29, for those who missed or could not make Medford’s.

“I just want to help kids with cancer,” explained Timmy Kelsch when asked why he gets his head shaved year after year.

Those who sign up as shavees or create their own campaign, whatever it may be, are able to fundraise via the St. Baldrick’s website.

“The idea of shaving is symbolic of children losing their hair,” explained Proscia.

“You don’t have to shave your head completely bald; crew cuts and Mohawks are welcome, too,” added Jennifer Kelsch. “It is more about making a statement, saying, ‘I am part of this event and I want to raise money for childhood cancer research.’ We hope to see the community participate. It has always been near and dear to my heart,” she added, noting that her friend’s niece suffered from bone cancer. “Treatment is just so limited.”

St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-powered charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. The website says that by getting involved you will be giving hope to infants, children, teens and young adults fighting childhood cancers.

According to St. Baldrick’s Foundation worldwide, a child is diagnosed every two minutes — more than 300,000 per year — while in the U.S. alone, one in five diagnosed will not survive and childhood cancers remain the No. 1 disease-killer of kids. Of the survivors, four out of five will suffer long-term effects from treatment.

Event activities will include head-shaving, green hair extensions, 50/50 raffle, auction and a bake sale from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Medford Elementary School, located at 281 Medford Avenue in Patchogue. Those who participate or volunteer get a T-shirt. T-shirts and bracelets are also for sale.

For more information or to donate, visit https://www.stbaldricks.org/events/MedfordElementary2018 or contact Jennifer Kelsch at 631-875-3549 or by email at jenniferkelschlcswr@yahoo.com. Checks should be payable to Medford Elementary School PTA with St. Baldrick’s in the memo line. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research.

“No donation is too small,” Kelsch added.