The Men’s Rugby team held its second consecutive St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event on March 27.
The entire team, along with other enthusiastic devotees, shaved their heads in support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding research to find cures for childhood cancers and support survivors.
St. Baldrick’s coordinates head-shaving events, where participants raise money through promoting their newly bald heads and the cause it supports through social media and by word of mouth. These head-shaving events have raised $125,251,567 since the charity’s start in 2005 according to their website.
“We used to do it as a team in the past,” Fourth-year Men’s Rugby President Jake Coulter said. “The president last year brought it back and we want to keep doing it.”
Coulter said the team raised approximately $8,000 last year and have reached the same amount again during this year’s month-long fundraising for the event, leading up to the team’s mass sheering in the activity center in the Student Union Building.
Participants donned a green St. Baldrick’s smock as inches of hair buzzed onto the floor and swept into bags as their teammates and bystanders cheered, including first-year rugby player Santos Sanchez.
“I’ve shaved my head before but it’s been a couple years,” Sanchez said. “It was about 10 inches. The second I heard we were doing this, a huge smile came across my face and I was super excited. Free haircut and doing it for a great cause.”
Third-year Captain Ryan Kelly said the location of this year’s head-sha+ve drew a lot of spectators and donators to the event, which raised around $1,000 – including three female shavees.
Suffern resident Lexi Pellegrino made the trip up to New Paltz after a friend participated in a head-shave event and suggested supporting the charity in the same way. Pellegrino raised $630 before becoming bald for the good reason, as well as necessity for her own cause.
“I’m going to live in the woods for six months with a trail conservation program,” Pellegrino said. “So I was going to shave my head anyway, but I knew there was a bunch of cancer things I could do it for. I’m still working as a waitress for the next three weeks, and I’m worried about reactions I might get or people might think that I’m sick, but I’m more than willing to tell everyone why I’m doing this and the fundraiser I did it for.”
This isn’t the first successful charity event the team has held this year. Most recently the team came in second the most successful blood drive ever to be held on the campus, Coulter said, adding that the team will be holding a Relay For Life walk in late April.
“When we hear of a really great opportunity to help people we try to make the most of it,” Kelly said.