Austin’s Hosts Ninth Annual St. Baldrick’s Head-Shaving Event

St. Baldrick’s Foundation held its ninth annual head-shaving event at Austin’s Saloon and Eatery on Saturday, April 8.

Hannah Hutchins, Features Editor

On Saturday, April 8, Austin’s Saloon and Eatery hosted Libertyville’s ninth annual St. Baldrick’s head shaving event. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money to help find cures for children with cancer.

The event in Libertyville included a silent auction, face painting, a balloon artist and, of course, head shaving. This year, there were more than 100 participants, both male and female, who shaved their heads. According to Jen Christensen, Libertyville’s St. Baldrick’s coordinator, the purpose of the event is to “give people the opportunity to show their support by shaving their head voluntarily – and raise money at the same time.” 

When Christensen’s daughter was six years old, she was diagnosed with cancer. Christensen became the St. Baldrick’s coordinator after this happened, as beforehand, she had not realized how prevalent childhood cancer was.

“When people [shave their heads] willingly, it’s incredibly inspiring and for some, it’s one of the most meaningful things they will ever do,” Christennsen said over text message.

Out of all of these participants, four happened to be LHS teachers: Amy Holtsford, Kim Jansen, Mike Mansell and Brady Sullivan. Their team, the Bald and Beautiful (which included another LHS teacher, Bryan Wilcox, who was unable to make the event but still shaved his head), collectively raised more than $15,000.

“[Our team was] so proud of what we were able to do and so humbled by the unbelievable support we received,” Mr. Mansell said via email.

Mr. Sullivan began participating in St. Baldrick’s three years ago, after his cousin Keagan was diagnosed with childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

“I saw one of the most energetic, strongest 6 year olds I know go through chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants…he wasn’t able to do so many things other kids and his friends were doing. No child deserves to be fighting a disease instead of playing on a playground,” Mr. Sullivan expressed over email.

As she was getting her head shaved, Mrs. Jansen found herself thinking about why she participated and all of the people in her life that had fought against cancer.

“I was thinking about my mom, my friend, Maddy [McInerney] and the others that lost their lives to cancer,” she said through an email. “These individuals I knew fought with grace, dignity, and humor and I respect that more than anything.”

**Editor’s Note: This story has since been updated from its original publication to express new information and quotes