Bears Go Bald to Raise Money for Children’s Cancer Research

Bears go bald
Baylor nursing students and faculty will shave their heads on March 17 to raise money for St. Baldrick's Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds childhood cancer research. (Photo courtesy St. Baldrick's Foundation)
March 2, 2017

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Media contact: Eric M. Eckert, (254) 710-1964

WACO, Texas (March 2, 2017) – Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing will serve as a temporary hair salon on Friday, March 17, when students and faculty will shave their heads to raise money for children’s cancer research in an event organized by the Baylor Student Nurses Association (BSNA).

The BSNA is working with St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for cancer research by working with volunteers sponsored by family, friends and employers who shave their heads in solidarity with children who lose their hair during cancer treatment.

“St. Baldrick’s is a phenomenal organization,” said Libby Rosonet, MSN, RN, lecturer in the Louise Herrington School of Nursing. “They really have a passion and a heart to see these kids get more research funding.”

Cancer kills more children in the United States than any other disease, according to St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes. Research has made great strides in recent years, and now 90 percent of children who are diagnosed with the most common type of cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, survive. There are over a dozen types of childhood cancer, however, and for some kids there is still little hope of a cure.

“As future nurses, we feel passionate about finding service events revolved around the healthcare community and impact a specific patient population, such as pediatric cancer patients,” said Kaitlyn Po, a senior nursing student and the president of BSNA.

Together, all pediatric cancers received only four percent of the National Cancer Institute budget in 2011. St. Baldrick’s strives to fill in this funding gap. Money raised by St. Baldrick’s fund research for all types of childhood cancers, helping not only to find cures but also to improve supportive care for patients.

“Their work is integral for pediatric cancer, and I think the future of pediatric cancer is in research,” Rosonet said. “The only way we’re going to get there is through funding, through stuff like this, which is just a really creative way to raise money.”

Rosonet spent years working as a certified pediatric hematology oncology nurse at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she witnessed firsthand the effect of cancer on children and their families.

“We don’t have the treatments for them, and the only way we’re going to get them is through research,” Rosonet said. “It’s really important to me, being here now and not being connected to my patients, to be able to do something to honor them and hopefully to contribute to the overall funds raised for research.”

Rosonet is one of five people who will shave their heads at Bears Go Bald. Baylor University students and members of the community still can sign up to participate in the event. Rosonet said participants can even participate via satellite if they can’t make it to the nursing school.

“We admire the valiant efforts of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research,” said Shelley F. Conroy, Ed.D., MS, RN, CNE, dean of the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing. “We are also very proud of our faculty member Libby Rosonet for her incredible gesture of support for cancer research by shaving her head on March 17 during the Bears Go Bald event.”

Rosonet pitched the idea of Bears Go Bald to BSNA, hoping to help students gain a better understanding of what life is like for cancer patients while raising money for research.

“I’m hoping that it will make students more aware that it’s not all sadness,” Rosonet said. “They’re awesome kids, and they’re strong and they’re brave and they’re not just kids who have cancer. I’m hoping it will raise awareness and a better understanding of what it’s like for those families and those patients.”

Since this is the BSNA’s first year working with St. Baldrick’s, Rosonet said they wanted to start small. The initial goal was to raise $1,500, but Bears Go Bald has already surpassed this fundraising goal.

Bears Go Bald will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, March 17, at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, 3700 Worth St. in Dallas.

Click here for more information about Bears Go Bald, to make a donation online or to register as a “shavee.” There is no minimum donation amount or fundraising goal to set.

by Kalli Damschen, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

ABOUT LOUISE HERRINGTON SCHOOL OF NURSING

The Baylor Louise Herrington School of Nursing was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor University Medical Center, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees were awarded in 1954, establishing the school as one of the oldest baccalaureate nursing programs in the United States. In 1999, the School was renamed the Louise Herrington School of Nursing after Louise Herrington Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, made a $13 million endowment gift to the school. The School of Nursing offers a bachelor of science in nursing degree and a master of science in nursing degrees in advanced neonatal nursing, nursing administration and management, and family nurse practitioner programs, which are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The School also offers a nurse midwifery doctorate in nursing practice.

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