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Crusader Men’s Soccer Hosts Successful St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser
Valparaiso University president Mark Heckler was among the first to get his head shaved Friday to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. (Di Geng)
Valparaiso University president Mark Heckler was among the first to get his head shaved Friday to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. (Di Geng)
Crusader women's soccer player Lauren Gagnon gets her head shaved Friday to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. (Di Geng)
Crusader women's soccer player Lauren Gagnon gets her head shaved Friday to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. (Di Geng)

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Valparaiso men’s soccer team hosted its second annual head-shaving fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation on Friday, benefiting funding to find cures for childhood cancers.  Over 60 volunteers had their heads shaved on Friday as the donations soared past multiple goals set by the Crusaders, already totaling over $18,000.

The event kicked off at 11 a.m. Friday morning with Valparaiso University president Mark Heckler, Crusader men’s soccer coach Mike Avery and his son Alex stepping up to the chairs as the first group of shavees.  Over the next few hours, members of the Valpo men’s soccer program, other Crusader athletes and campus and community members sat down and had their heads shaved to benefit the cause.  A number of women braved the clippers as well, including Valpo women’s soccer player Lauren Gagnon, as well as Agnes Nusbaum, whose son Christian is a childhood leukemia survivor.

The Crusaders first raised money for St. Baldrick’s last year after sophomore Tom Serratore, who had participated in fundraisers for St. Baldrick’s in high school, brought the cause to the team’s attention.  Valpo’s inaugural event last March at B&G Barbershop raised better than $5,000 for the foundation.  While this year’s total has already more than tripled last years, the Crusaders are still accepting donations in hopes of surpassing the $20,000 threshold – fans can contact assistant coach Jeff Oleck at 219-464-5059 or by e-mail at Jeff.Oleck@valpo.edu to learn how to donate.

“Having this number of participants, and such a great crowd this year is a wonderful surprise,” said Serratore. “We hope this outpouring of enthusiasm sets the stage for an event that will grow for years to come at Valpo.”

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. Since 2000, nearly 200,000 volunteers -- including more than 17,200 women -- have shaved in solidarity with children with cancer at events in dozens of countries and every U.S. state. Thanks to generous friends and family, these shavees have raised over $117 million for life-saving research.