St. Baldrick's Celebration shaves heads to raise money for childhood cancer researchBy: Anne Stokes / Press Tribune Correspondent
Hundreds of supporters shaved their heads in the name of cancer survivors at the Westfield Galleria on Saturday. The Keaton Raphael Memorial and the St. Baldrick's Foundation partnered together to host their annual St. Baldrick's Celebration fundraiser to raise awareness and money for cancer research and treatment.
"We truly believe that we are making an impact. A major portion of the funds that we raise towards research stays local and we're really proud of that. Last year we raised almost $900,000, so we're hoping to meet that or beat it," said Keaton Raphael Memorial executive director Teresa Hofhenke. "We sincerely appreciate all of our community partners that come out and support us. It makes a difference. Every single individual person makes a difference. And we're proud to be a part of that."
Eight year old Piper Finnerty of Sacramento shaved her head after seeing her uncle participate in last year's St. Baldrick's Celebration, raising $4,600 on her own in the process.
"It was all on her own volition, we never once tried to talk her into it or anything," said her father Erik Finnerty. "We said, 'gosh you're going to get teased.' And she said, well I'll just say, 'what did you raise for cancer?' We're very, very proud."
Stan and Jill Ichiho of Sacramento were on hand at the event to personally thank the Keaton Raphael Memorial for their support during their daughter Katie's leukemia treatments last year.
"As a parent, you want and need to be there for your child at every step of that process. But as you can imagine, this can take a toll on your finances quickly. Keaton Raphael not only provided our family with financial assistance to help with the additional expenses associated with living away from home for several weeks, but also with gifts for Katie and her brother," said Jill Ichiho.
"It is so inspiring to see so many people shave their heads in solidarity with the children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. It's such a beautiful and selfless act of love and support," she added.
For more information on how you can help or participate in upcoming events (including additional St. Baldrick's Celebrations in downtown Sacramento and Davis next week), please visit the Keaton Raphael Memorial website at: http://www.childcancer.org/chapters/roseville