The Carson City Fire Department will host its sixth annual St. Baldrick’s Conquer Kids’ Cancer to raise money for kids with cancer on Friday.
The event will raise money for pediatric cancer care and the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation. Participants shave their heads and can donate money to the organizations.
“The reason we shave our heads is to show solidarity for the kids who lose their hair during chemotherapy treatments so we want to show them, ‘hey, we are willing to lose our hair too for something that is unwarranted,” said organizer Curtis Baker with the Carson City Fire Department. “When we run calls for kids with cancer, they are the most undeserving patients we have.”
The event will be at Red’s 395 Grill at 3 p.m. Friday.
Baker started the event in Carson City after hosting it in Reno for three years. The idea for the event came after he built a friendship with a 5-year-old with cancer he met on the job.
“It all started with a kid here, we were on a call and had to run him to Stanford (for treatment) and I did that for a year,” Baker said. “It just always happened that it was during my shift and I was the one called out to it; his family called me his personal paramedic.”
Baker built a friendship with the child and his family for that year while the child was being treated. And Baker was in the hospital room when he died.
“That inspired me to start this because I just kept thinking, I have to do something more than just being a paramedic,” Baker said. “I watched him die right in front of me and it was the most heart-breaking thing I have ever experienced.”
So Baker started the event in Carson City to bring the community together to raise money for the cause. In the last six years they have raised more than $80,000.
This year, one Red’s waitress decided to donate her blonde locks to the cause.
Twenty-eight-year-old Jennifer King hasn’t cut her hair for nearly 10 years. It reached almost 20 inches long, and she decided it was a good cause to lose her hair for.
“I would always get groups of guys to participate before, but I never had,” King said. “And I figured this year it was my turn.”
King said she isn’t nervous to shave her head because she reminds herself everyday what she’s doing it for.
“I am actually really excited, I know my nerves will hit at some point, but I try to remember why I am doing it and the kids I am doing it for,” King said. “(Having my hair) doesn’t matter to me as much as the cause.”
“Once you know what these kids go through and see how (the cancer) effects people, you understand it’s just hair. I have been blessed with great hair but it is a choice I have gotten and these kids aren’t as blessed.”
Normally the hair that’s shaved during St. Baldrick’s isn’t donated, but King will cut off most of her hair to donate to another organization before shaving the rest.
“At least I will have a lot more time in the shower now (since I don’t have to shampoo and condition),” King joked.
Participants can sign up before the event at stbaldricks.org to receive a T-shirt or in person at the event. Baker said they have about 20 participants signed up but anticipate they will shave upward of 60 heads.
Baker said this year they will have several engines and ladder trucks from the Carson City Fire Department, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department and East Fork Fire Protection District.
“So we put the challenge out there to all local public safety offices, like the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, and other city departments to come out and beat our numbers from the Fire Department,” Baker said. “This is so huge and fun to watch the community step up and come together.”
Donations can also be made to St. Baldrick’s throughout the week at FireHouse Subs.