Just two days after the Sachem community rallied behind a young student looking for a bone marrow donation match, administrators and students participated in another act of good will Monday with the annual St. Baldrick’s event at Sachem High School East.
Sachem East doubled last year’s donation total of $15,000 and pulled in around $32,000, crushing its initial goal of $17,000. Seqouya Middle School also raised $30,000 on its own.
Among the more than 115 people who had their heads shaved was Sachem Superintendent James Nolan, who raised $3,645 on his own.
“It’s about teaching our kids that the most important thing in life is to give of yourself to help others,” said Nolan, who lost his father, an aunt, and countless others in his and the Sachem family to cancer.
The rock star of the afternoon was Sachem East Assistant Principal Carol Todaro, a cancer survivor, who took the stage by storm with a rousing ovation.
“It’s like coming full circle,” said Todaro, who suffered from Hodgkin’s Disease. “From having been sick eight years ago and losing my hair in a horrible, devastating way and now being able to do it for a positive cause and seeing the school and community come together is beyond anything an administrator could every hope for.”
Joining Todaro and Nolan were Sachem East Principal Rory Manning, Sachem East Assistant Principals Lou Antonetti and John Galligan, and Sachem East football coach Mark Wojciechowski, among other building teachers.
Jawad Sheikh, a senior at East, honored his aunt by getting his head shaved.
“I’ve had it short but never this short,” he said smiling on the stage of the auditorium. “It feels good. I did it for her and other people who have had cancer.”
Wojciechowski and the football program raised over $1,700, while East teacher James Berger raised over $3,200.
Cactus Salon donated the stylists, who cut the hair.
St. Baldrick's is the world's largest volunteer-driven fundraising unit for childhood cancer research. At foundation events all throughout the year, volunteers shave their heads to raise funds. Like marathon runners, "shavees" collect donations from friends, family and associates. The foundation receives these funds and makes grants to research experts.