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Bald for Bucks raising money to help young people with cancer

by Kristina Livingston - MANAGING EDITOR
Tue, Mar 7th 2017 05:00 pm
Photo courtesy of @brockportbald on twitter.com
SHAVING AND SAVING ... LIVES Bald for Bucks, a fundraiser unique to the Rochester and Buffalo areas, raises awareness and funding for research on cancer affecting individuals between the ages of 13-30, a demographic not widely researched.
Photo courtesy of @brockportbald on twitter.com SHAVING AND SAVING ... LIVES Bald for Bucks, a fundraiser unique to the Rochester and Buffalo areas, raises awareness and funding for research on cancer affecting individuals between the ages of 13-30, a demographic not widely researched.

 While pursuing internships when enrolled as a student at The College at Brockport is widely encouraged, rarely does a student have the opportunity to combine their first experience in any given field with the campus community.

Senior Mel White accepted the role of the Brockport coordinator of Goin' Bald For Bucks, a fundraising campaign which accepts donations for the organization 13thirty, an organization which focuses on a demographic of cancer patients between the ages of 13 and 30.

According to Executive Director and founder of 13thirty Lauren Spiker, the uniqueness of Bald for Bucks lies in its proceeds remaining local, allowing fundraising participants to directly help teens and young adults living with cancer in their communities.

"Our teens and young adults are caught in a very difficult gap in services," Spiker wrote in an email. "No longer children but not yet fully independent adults, they don't "fit" in either of our existing health care systems - pediatric and adult medicine."

Spiker founded 13thirty after the death of her 19-year-old daughter Melissa in 2000, which inspired her to reach out to young people afflicted with similar illnesses after witnessing firsthand how difficult it is to live as a teenager with cancer. 

Originally naming  the organization "Melissa's Living Legacy Teen Cancer Foundation," 13thirty now functions to help young people such as White "establish a habit of philanthropy and service," according to Spiker. 

Through her internship at 13thirty, White has formed personal career goals involving fundraising for cancer research and treatment, as well as a drive to expose those around her in the Delta College and the Office of Residential Life, wherein she serves as a Residential Assistant in Gordon Hall. 

"When we're looking at cancer ... we focus really hard on childhood oncology," White said. "That 13 to 30 gap doesn't have that much research, we don't really have that much information. So they [people within that age range suffer from cancer] are kind of forgotten."

When learning about this lack of attention regarding this demographic, White researched whether or not Brockport participated in Goin' Bald For Bucks; upon finding out there was no established presence, she took necessary steps to bring the program to campus

"People pledge money to shave, cut or style their hair," White said. "[Bald For Bucks] is exclusive to the Rochester and Buffalo area."

Money raised from Goin' Bald For Bucks on the Brockport campus will be transferred to either the Rochester or Buffalo divisions of 13thirty Cancer Connect. Currently, White has coordinated several fundraising opportunities to be available on campus. 

While students have the opportunity to join the "Brockport Bald" team and work towards the team goal of $5,000, they can also purchase limited edition team t-shirts donning the slogan "Brockport Bald/Brockport Bold", participate in "Jar Wars" set up within residence halls and make pledges to alter their hair on the team's page, among other opportunities. 

White has also run a fundraiser within  her residence hall to name two goldfish who now adorn the desk at which she serves as night desk attendant. The fundraiser resulted in winning names of Tom and Gisele, proving that small efforts to encourage community involvement may contribute to a cause in a large way.

"[Working with 13thirty] is my internship, but it's so much more than that," White said. "My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, and she was only 26 at the time." 

White's internship experience demonstrates what may result from combining one's work ethic with a personal investment in a cause they deem worthy.

Bald For Bucks will be holding an event Friday, March 31, in the Seymour College Union, during which Brockport Bald team members will make due on pledges to make alterations to their hair, whether it be to go bald, go short or dye their hair in the name of cancer research.

"Unlike many other fundraising initiatives, all proceeds from Bald for Bucks stay right here in Western New York," Spiker wrote.

Interested potential participants may easily get in contact with White or join the team "Brockport Bald" through baldforbucks.org. Currently, the team consists of 16 members, primarily fellow Residential Life staff who have come to recognize White's passions and the importance in knowing where donations end up. The team is accepting members and donations until March 31.

@kristinalivin

brockport.editor@gmail.com

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