July 22, 2014
Trinity students shave heads in St Baldricks celebrations

The students of Trinity School of Medicine participated, on July 4, in the St Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event at the institution in Ratho Mill.

The event was organized by Dave Owings, a student at the school. A number of students volunteered as “shavees”,{{more}} having their heads shaved in a show of solidarity with children who suffer from childhood cancers. Two students, Jamie Bailey and Kaley Stapley, volunteered as “cutters”.

The St Baldrick’s Foundation is a charity that is volunteer-driven. It is committed to funding research to find cures for childhood cancers. The worldwide estimate for children who suffer from these diseases is about 175,000. At these head-shaving events, volunteers petition their friends and relatives to act as their sponsors, donating money that ‘shavees’ give to the cause.

The activity was started by business executives of Irish origin, who had been observing St Patrick’s Day having fun drinking in pubs. They decided to change the focus of their celebration and dedicate monies instead to the cause of helping children diagnosed with cancer. The chemotherapy treatment, which the children undergo, causes their hair to fall out and so, that original group recruited volunteers who had their heads shaved in public in return for pledges of financial support.

Actually, there is no Saint called Baldrick. The name “St Baldrick’s” is a combination of the words “bald” and “St Patrick’s”. The celebrations usually take place on or just before St. Patrick’s Day, but events can be held at any time during the year.

As the medical students of Trinity lined up to have their hair removed, their fellow classmates were valiant in their support. Each “shavee” felt it was a worthwhile venture and presented him/herself unflinchingly to be shaved. Event organiser, Dave Owings, expressed overwhelming pride and gratitude that so many students were willing to volunteer. Coming out of this session, there was a call for the activity to be repeated each term.

As St Baldrick’s is about funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and giving survivors long, healthy lives, there could be no doubt about the value which participants bring to the event. According to the St Baldrick’s website, “two-thirds of children treated for childhood cancer suffer long-term effects from treatment including loss of hearing and sight, heart disease, secondary cancers, learning disabilities, infertility and more”. Hence, Trinity volunteers have made an excellent step towards contributing to this worthy cause.