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Students unite against cancer

By: Susan Belknap, Press-Tribune Editor
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At Granite Bay High School, just like schools throughout the country, there are a plethora of clubs, sports and activities for students to join. For senior Stephen O’Donnell and a few of his friends it just wasn’t enough. Forming a club to raise funds for cancer research is at the top of their list. “I looked at people on our campus and I know of so many who have had cancer,” O’Donnell said. “One of our teachers had it, a child of a teacher and so many others I know have gone through something significant with this disease.” O’Donnell said the mission of the student club called, Students Against Cancer, is to help raise funds for cancer research and to raise awareness about how the disease has affected local communities. The club has been meeting regularly since the beginning of the school year. Currently there are preparing for a St. Baldrick’s event on campus, April 17. St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a nonprofit organization that coordinates worldwide events where participants shave their head in an effort to raise money to support childhood cancer research and show support for those who have undergone chemotherapy and have lost their hair. From 2000-2008 more than 73,000 shavees, with more than 5,200 of those being women, have shaved their heads at more than 1,700 St. Baldrick’s events throughout the world. Eureka Elementary School recently conducted their own St. Baldrick’s head-shaving where more than 43 students participated and more than $23,000 was raised. Students Against Cancer club member Josh Bardet said he hopes to make students aware of the St. Baldrick’s event at the Granite Bay High School by having people tell how they’ve been affected by cancer on the daily television broadcasts the school televises each day. “For our event on the 17th we have 23 people signed up so far to shave their heads,” Bardet said. “I want to get the word out to get more. Our goal was to get at least 20 people.” Bardet said the club’s fiscal goal is to raise $10,000. One prospective shavee has raised more than $900 to date. O’Donnell said in addition to the head-shaving, the club is planning lots of games and activities to get the whole student body involved. Club member Sean Sladek has also been a part of the planning for the April event. “We hope this St. Baldrick’s head-shaving will increase the connection between students here at our school,” Sladek said. With this being the first year the club and the event at Granite Bay has been planned, club members admit they don’t know what to expect. “This first year, we’re just trying to get the word out about the club,” Bardet said. O’Donnell said several teachers have signed up to get their locks chopped and the club members are hoping more students will be inspired to participate when they see their teachers making the commitment. For more information about the student club, visit www.studentsagainstcancer.org. To learn more about St. Baldrick’s Foundation go to www.StBaldricks.org.