CHARLESTON, S.C. - On Saturday afternoon, the College of Charleston baseball team shaved their heads as part of the national St. Baldrick's "Shaving Heads and Saving Lives" charity and initiative. Over the last month and continuing through Saturday, the team raised nearly $10,000 for the charity that funds childhood cancer research efforts.
"This kind of event helps them grow as people," head coach Monte Lee said. "That's part of the College experience. We want them to be able to leave here with a great life experience. I hope that our guys appreciate events like this and the need to give back to the community and to help those that aren't as fortunate as they are."
By the end of the day, 45 players, coaches, staff and volunteers stepped up to shave their heads as part of the fundraiser for cancer research. Over $1,700 was raised on the day of the event from donations and sponsors.
CofC senior Rob Harding raised over $2,000 himself as cancer has hit home for him and his family. Harding's father, Stan, died of cancer when he was just two years old, and his older brother, Ben, was diagnosed with leukemia at age two.
"Cancer has been a big part of my life, and it's been a big part of my family's life," Harding said. "All of the money that we raised is for such an awesome cause, and hopefully it can help find a cure for cancer."
Rob's brother, Ben, has been in remission for the last 20 years and was on hand on Saturday to shave Rob's head.
The Cougars dedicated the event to five-year old Mack Shieder who played t-ball with the team after the game and met some of his favorite players. Diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myelocytic leukemia, Mack threw out the first pitch in the Cougars' game against South Carolina two weeks ago.
"The head shaving is a symbol for us, but Mack is what this is really all about," said marketing assistant Jamie Holler, who organized the event. Holler played shortstop for the Cougars in 2010-11. "Him and all of the other children with cancer out there, they are the ones that we are doing this for."
Although the event is over, the Cougars are still accepting donations which can be made at www.stbaldricks.org/events/cofc.
St. Baldrick's began in 2000, when three friends turned a St. Patrick's Day party into a head-shaving event to benefit kids with cancer and raised more than $104,000. From that beginning, St. Baldrick's Foundation has raised more than $117 million for childhood cancer research.