Being unable to return home to Georgia this semester for the annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser, Ben Bowman, ‘25, decided to organize the event at Lehigh.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, dedicated to raising funds for childhood cancer research, raises the second most amount of money for the cause, following the government. Among their fundraising efforts are head-shaving events — public gatherings where volunteers donate money and have their heads shaved to raise awareness for the cause.
Bowman teamed up with Club CRU, the campus ministry group, to plan and advertise a fundraising campaign, as well as a head-shaving event that was held on March 26 at Hawks Nest.
Bowman reached out to nearby barber shops to do the head-shaving and said he was happy to work with the Steele District Barbershop.
Bowman has been volunteering for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for 10 years. He was introduced to the foundation when his baseball teammate asked him to participate in a fundraiser. This was Bowman’s first time organizing an event of his own.
“When I was 8 years old, he (my teammate) was like, ‘Hey I’m doing this thing. Do you want to get your head shaved with me?’ and I was like ‘Yeah, why not,’” Bowman said, “I loved it, so I kept doing it.”
Bowman said he has been a team leader before. In this role he is responsible for a group of volunteers fundraising that compete with other teams within the event to see who can raise the most.
Days before the event, Bowman said he already had 13 “shave-ees” and was more than halfway toward their $10,000 fundraising goal.
Although they did not get their heads shaved, Irene Macri, ‘24, and Maura Campbell, ‘24, were excited to help Bowman organize the event as the treasurers for the fundraiser.
Marci said Bowman asked for help and she thought it was a great cause.
“It’s a pretty cool thing to bring together our community,” Macri said.
Macri and Campbell were in charge of collecting donations at the event and ensuring they are processed properly to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
They both said they wanted to help their friend as much as they could, admiring his leadership and initiative in organizing the event.
“We’ve been trying to promote it as much as we can through our friends and outlets that we have,” Campbell said.
Macri said they found most of their volunteers through fellow ROTC students and Greek life members.
Campbell said although some of the volunteers could not attend the event, they showed their commitment to the fundraiser by shaving their heads in the days prior.
Macri said in the month leading up to the event, each participant or team of participants could create a profile on the St. Baldrick’s Foundation website to act as their personal fundraising page. If not, participants could donate to the Lehigh University St. Baldrick’s page.
“I think in future years (we’d like to) start preparing a little bit earlier and be able to get it a bit more competitive and set concrete goals for individual people,” Macri said. “Like if you fundraise $50, you get a t-shirt.”
Campbell said she hopes the event will take off after this year and students will continue to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
“They actually put money towards cures and solutions to cancer,” Campbell said. “You’re not just randomly donating money to a bake sale. You’re giving it to an organization that’s going to focus on putting the money where it’s going to matter most to kids and their families.”