Shepard Family Raises Over $72,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Emilie Bowman, Sports Editor

 

For the past 12 years, Christopher Schmelzer and his family have hosted a St. Baldrick’s event in hopes of finding a cure for childhood cancer. Since 2006, the Schmelzer’s have raised over $537,000, all going to research for childhood cancer.

This year the event was held at Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park and raised over $70,000 through raffles and donations brought in by shavees. This year the event brought in 83 brave men, women, and children who decided to shave their heads for various reasons.

A charity that was started by two friends making a bet has turned into a nationwide phenomenon. The Schmelzer’s event has brought in over 900 shavees in a little over a decade. Many the people who come out to ‘Brave the Shave’ are often returners who are personally invested in the need for a cure.

One women, Holly Jo Johnson, comes back year after year in hope of finding a cure. Holly Jo is more than just a shavee, she is a cancer survivor herself. Johnson has had to endure seven different types of cancer. In the 10 years that Holly Jo has attended the event, she has raised over $120,000.

Volunteers are encouraged to raise as much money as they can before the event but once they arrive at Bourbon Street, there are many more opportunities for people to open their wallets.

Merchandise like pins, bracelets, stickers, and t-shirts are available by the front doors when supporters begin to walk in. This year approximately $800 was made at the front table, before getting to experience the true atmosphere of St. Baldrick’s.

Supporters, shavees, and volunteers also have an opportunity to win various prizes through raffles sold throughout the day. The raffles are split into three different categories, 50/50, big ticket raffle items, and the regular raffle. With prizes ranging from kids coloring book packages to growlers of beer to overnight hotel stays and even a hockey stick signed by the entire 2017-2018 Chicago Blackhawks team, the 55 raffles brought in over $2,500.

VEO Christopher Schmelzer started his charity event with the mindset ‘Go Big or Go Home’ and that’s exactly what he’s been doing for the past 12 years. The first year was even a success, bringing in $8,700.

Although the event did not start at Bourbon Street, it grew so much that the Schmelzer’s had to find a larger venue for all those who wanted to ‘Rock the Bald’ and support childhood cancer research.

When people sign up to shave their heads, they have the choice of signing up as a team or individually. This year Superheros in Kilts, a group of guys wearing kilts and comic book shirts, raised $9,776, the most of any team this year.

The team Cancer Sucks! raised $5,205, $4000 more than their goal. Cancer Sucks! was started by eighth grader Andrew Maddox when he lost his older brother Colt Maddox to cancer a few years ago.

Coming in third for the amount of money they raised this year, the team Brooke Bauer Boutique raised $4,785, $3000 more than their original goal. The team, led by Brooke Bauer, consists mainly of women who are brave enough to go bald for a good cause.

“The moment when I grab the microphone, take the stage and look up to see the crowd gets me every year.  Seeing those hundreds of people that have come together for a common cause, hoping that no parent ever has to hear the words, “Your child has cancer” is about as uplifting as it gets,” said Chris Schmelzer.

Next year the Schmelzer’s hope to raise even more money and plan on continuing the event until a cure is found.