By Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer
Electric cooperative staffers, local athletes, police and firefighters combined bald heads with green bucks to boost pediatric cancer research, treatment and prevention, as hundreds shaved their heads to honor kids battling devastating diseases.
“This is the seventh year we’ve supported the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, with a goal of raising money and awareness of childhood cancers,” said Mary Miller, communications manager for the Bismarck, N.D.-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative. “This started out as an event held in the Basin Electric boardroom and since then, it has really exploded.”
More than 300 volunteers across the country have taken up the challenge of Basin Electric’s “Brave the Shave” Campaign, and many others joined in related events that began March 7, and continue through the end of the month.
One of the largest events took place in Bismarck, March 14, where more than 180 men shaved their heads and beards and women also shore their locks to obtain pledges and donations for the cause. It opened with a “Knighting of the Bald Table” ceremony, where those who have shaved seven years in a row were knighted by children either fighting cancer or who have beaten it.
“I am incredibly moved by the support this campaign has received. We’re so pleased with the commitment by area organizations to help St. Baldrick’s,” says Mike Eggl, Basin Electric senior vice president of communications and administration. “The kids are why we do this.”
Since 2008, Basin Electric’s support of St. Baldrick’s Foundation projects has included more than $1 million in donations. The G&T’s campaign ranked among the foundation’s top 10 in 2013, said Miller. Organizers are hoping to top the $330,000 raised last year.
Participants included honorees and their families and friends, area schools and businesses and teams from Basin Electric and partnering organizations, said Miller. While some shaved their heads, others participated in a variety of events. Nearly 100 energetic souls took part March 2 in Basin Electric’s “Get Your Green On Zumbathon.”
Other “Brave the Shave” events in North and South Dakota and Wyoming are scheduled through March 28.