Diocesan News

St. Mel’s Assists St. Baldrick’s

Flushing Youth Ministry Organizes Hair-raising Event to Help Conquer Cancer

Madison Taravella Beadle, a fourth grade student at St. Mel’s was the first young student brave enough to step onto the stage, she examines the locks she just donated to St. Baldrick’s Conquer Kid’s Cancer.
St. Francis Prep teacher Brian McCormack has his head shaved.
MacCormack's wife and young sons watched and cheered him on.
Father Jun Hee Lee, paroichial vicar at St. Mel’s parish, shares a green moustache moment with a young supporter.
(Photos Matthew O'Connor)

St. Mel’s in Flushing was buzzing with excitement to help make a difference. The Queens parish hosted its third annual St. Baldrick’s Conquer Kid’s Cancer organized by its youth ministry on April 7.

The youngsters raised $6,500 as students, parents, and a few other brave souls came out to support. Men shaved their heads, while women cut off several inches of hair which will be used to make wigs for children who suffer from several types of cancer.

Brian McCormack, a math teacher at St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows, was the first one to step up and had his two young sons in the first row rooting him on.

“This is a great cause, I have done it for a couple years,” said McCormack. “I am a teacher and always hope to inspire my students. I personally can’t donate thousands of dollars but I can do this at the very least. This is my way of giving back and doing my best to help.”

Lauren Pizzo was the first brave mom to step up and donate eight inches of hair.

“I have done this the last few years and even plan on growing my hair specifically so that I can come here and cut it off,” explained Pizzo.

“This is my first time doing it as a mom which made it really special this year. Knowing that this will go to a wig for a young child and give them a small sense of hope is a great feeling and I already know that I will be back next year.”

Jimmy Walters, the parish youth director, was pleased at the turnout.

“Before we started this, we went to students and asked them what is something they can do to give back?” said Walters.

“And childhood cancer was one of the first ideas that came up. Everyone is affected by cancer so to be able to give back and help in any way we can is amazing. This is also a way to create awareness for our young people but it’s also a way for them to get involved.  They do a great job every year.”

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, that relies on volunteers and donors, is dedicated to raising money for research and funds to fight pediatric cancer.

The organization has raised $253 million in research grants in the past 14 years.

Those looking to see when the next event is or to have their school or parish start their own event as well as current contributors may see how their donations are being put to work by visiting www.StBaldricks.org.

Each year, 160,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer and every little effort to help them can make a difference for so many.