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Posted: 03/13/13

Above, Mark Hackel shaving the head of Washington Township Fire Chief Dan Last at March 1 event. Below, Washington Township resident Stan Babinksi and his wife Lisa who is holding up the last strand of hair on Stan's head before it is completely shaved off at the March 1 event.

(Observer photos by Mike Nicley)

St. Baldrick's aims for
$300,000 goal March 16

Observer Staff Writer

      It's time for adults and children alike in Romeo to step up and show their solidarity with children combating cancer.
       The annual Village of Romeo's St. Baldrick's Foundation fundraiser is looking to raise $300,000 for childhood cancer research from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at the Lion's Field House.
       The St. Baldrick's Foundation is the second largest provider of funds to childhood cancer research. The foundation asks volunteers to collect money in return for having their heads completely shaved.
       Not only is it fun and amusing, but the bald heads symbolize solidarity with children that lose their hair during cancer treatments.
       As of March 11, volunteers with the Romeo fundraiser have raised nearly $124,000. This is 41 percent of the $300,000 goal, with 400-plus volunteers already signed up to shave for the event.
       "We've got a lot of stuff where the numbers are just through the roof," said Michael Fiscus, event coordinator.
       Not much has changed over the years with the event, and for good reason. Fiscus said with the continued success each event sees, coordinators strive to find ways of fine-tuning it rather than re-inventing it.
       For instance, this year will make more room in the main shaving area by removing picnic tables and streamlining the shaving process. The event time has also been set earlier to give more time for participation.
       "We want to make sure that the day is about them and what they're doing for all the kids," he said.
       A new edition to the event is the inclusion of a beer that was brewed specifically for the fundraiser. Dubbed "Bald Rick's" beer, a dollar from every sale of the summer German lager is donated to the cause. The beer is limited in supply and can be found at local restaurants.
       For more kid-friendly involvement, Fiscus said the event is working to make it easier for local schools to take part after noticing about 200 shavees were kids.
       "With 200 or more participating this year, we want to make it easier to show some school spirit at the same time," he said.
       Teams have formed throughout the Romeo Community Schools district, including at Powell Middle School where students and teachers have formed the "Powell Bald Dawgs."
       Patrick Salembier, instructor and team leader, said this is the first year the schools have all formally joined up with the event to have a friendly competition of which team can raise the most money.
       "It doesn't really matter what team brings in the most money, what matters is we can raise the largest amount that goes to research," Salembier said.
       The team is honoring Arbor Murphy, a sixth-grade student diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, as well as Drew Pointe, a Romeo High School junior, and Noah Costa, a Washington Township resident and student.
       As of March 11, the Bald Dawgs was $30 short of reaching its $9,750 goal. They are hoping to cap it and perhaps surpass it on March 14 by holding a special event where teachers, staff and administrators will have their heads shaved during lunch hour.
       Students will pay $1 for a raffle ticket, with the lucky winners doing the majority of the shaving.
       "We have 25 to 30 kids that are going to have their heads shaved," Salembier said.
       Shaving the way to fun
       The festivities kick off at 11 a.m. with shavee and volunteer registration, and raffles, food, music and kids activities beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Lion's Field House.
       The parade begins at noon in downtown Romeo and ends at the Lion's Field House, where the Queens of Scots Highland Dancers and bagpipe tributes will entertain until the kick-off at 1:15 p.m.
       Heads will begin to shine at 1:30 p.m. when volunteers step up to be shaved from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., with a group photo scheduled at 5:05 p.m. of all the shavees. Around 600 are expected to be shaved this year.
       Lion's Field House is located at 269 E. Washington Street. For more information, visit

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