CLEVELAND — On Friday, for the 12th year in a row, dozens of doctors, nurses, researchers, and patients went to UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital for a trim.
It's part of the annual head-shaving event for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a fundraiser put on by Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals. Friday was the first time since March 2020 that the event was held in person.
"It's absolutely great to be back in person," Dr. Alex Huang, pediatric oncologist and hematologist for UH Rainbow Babies & Children's, said. "After missing two years, we have done pretty well over virtual, but still not the same as being in person. But the energy here really is a testament to the teamwork and of the dedicated staff members and researchers and patients and families."
The research is crucial in helping kids to beat cancer.
"Many of these research projects are now going into clinical trials as we speak," Huang told 3News.
It's important to both health care heroes and survivors. Jeff Ford is the longtime emcee of the St. Baldrick's event. In fact, he's been here all 12 years supporting the cause.
"I'm so grateful for this hospital," Ford said. "I'm grateful for St. Baldrick's."
There's a personal reason for his gratitude: His 23-year-old daughter, Rachel Carpenter, is a cancer survivor.
"In 2020, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I was treated here at this hospital, so it's a little more personal," Carpenter recalled. "That's why I do it. I come out and volunteer and I shave my dad's head. It means so much to me to see people shaving their heads.
"When I lost my hair, it feels lonely. It feels lonely to be somebody who is going through treatment and has to lose their hair, so when you see other people join you, it means the world."
Jeff couldn't be more proud of Rachel.
"I was proud of her when she volunteered to shave along with me even before all of this," Jeff said. "Shen your own child is diagnosed, it's like it's a whole different, you know, whole different ballgame.
"She's three years cancer-free because of research, and so, I mean, those treatments wouldn't exist without the kind of research we're raising money for."
Thanks to these big-hearted volunteers, to date, the St. Baldrick's event has raised nearly $1 million. It's the world's largest donor program for childhood cancer research.
To help, donate, or participate in St. Baldrick's, click HERE.
Editor's Note: The following video is from a previous, unrelated report.