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Posted: 03/05/14

St. Baldrick's starts
shaving heads March 7

Observer Staff Writer

      Students, politicians and others are joining forces to get a jump on Romeo's goal to conquer childhood cancer.
       Anyone wishing to aid them in their quest can attend the St. Baldrick's Foundation Romeo fundraiser kickoff at 7 p.m. on March 7 at Younger's Irish Tavern, a prelude to the March 15 fundraiser.
       For the past seven years, Romeo has hosted a fundraiser for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. The foundation asks volunteers to collect donations, and as a symbol of solidarity with children undergoing cancer treatments, have their heads completely shaved.
       The foundation is the second-largest contributor to childhood cancer research grants, with the first being the U.S. government.
       Mike Fiscus, the main coordinator for the Romeo St. Baldrick's event, said this year's goals to meet and beat is $350,000 with 600 shaved heads.
       "The event keeps growing bigger and bigger," he said. "We always reach the goal, the question is will we pass it."
       Helping with that is the March 7 event. Local politicians will put their heads on the line to raise money, including Village President Mike Lee and Washington Township Supervisor Dan O'Leary. Admission to the event is free, while T-shirts and raffles will be available to raise money.
       The fundraiser is already off to a good start, with close to 367 shavees registered and $65,000 raised as of Feb. 28. In the past seven years, Romeo has brought more than $1 million in donations to the cause. Last year's event was the sixth largest out of 1,500 events worldwide and shaved 602 heads.
       "It's a friendly competition between events," Fiscus said. "It's fun to drive people, and the end result is more money for the cause."
       The main fundraising event will start at noon on March 15. The shaving stage will be at the Romeo Lions Field on Washington Street. The event includes a parade, raffles, bands, facepainting, and of course, plenty of shaving from 1 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
       Shavees have come from all different areas for the Romeo event. In 2013, 63 heads were from Romeo, 69 from Bruce Township and 139 from Washington Township. Just over 40 percent of all shavees in 2013 were kids.
       Romeo students are already rallying to raise funds. Around 110 students have signed up this year, with Powell Middle School alone raising more than $8,000 as of Feb. 28. Last year, 244 students took part and raised $73,757.
       "We've got a big show of support from the schools," Fiscus said.
       An extra incentive for Romeo students has been sponsored by Romeo Accountants. For every $50 a student registered with a Romeo school team raises, they gain a chance to win an XBox One console. The winner will be announced 3 p.m. on March 18.
       Local restaurants are doing their part as well. Buffalo Wild Wings is holding a fundraiser night today, March 5, with 20 percent of all sales excluding gift cards donated. Buffalo Wild Wings will also cater a lunch to the top two Romeo schools that raise the most money.
       Last weekend, Thee Office Pub and Cookery had its annual "Wiggin' Out" fundraiser on March 1, where 10 percent of all bills were donated. The restaurant matched 10 percent on bills where customers wore wigs.
       To register, donate or for more information, visit

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