There is a deafening roar each and every time a new individual is called up to receive a head shaving. When the blades have come to a stop, the “shavee” looks out over each face there in support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation mission. While they might be bald for a month or so, they know they are fighting for something so much bigger than themselves: funding for research and treatment of pediatric cancer.

According to St. Baldrick’s, 300,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year. In the United States, more children die of cancer than any other disease. With these staggering odds, St. Baldrick’s relies heavily on fundraising efforts for the top-of-the-line research and treatment efforts they provide every year.

The men at the Iota-Sigma chapter at Valparaiso University [Valpo]  have been heavily involved with St. Baldrick’s fundraising efforts for the past two years now, and there is no sign of slowing down.

Godsel says that the mission of St. Baldrick’s hits home for the Iota-Sigma members, which makes this event so special. Photo courtesy of Josh Bieck.

“We saw that the cause was really amazing for pediatric cancer research and treatment; it’s just a really good cause for people who are in need, so we figured why not bring that event to Valpo as well, since we are so philanthropy-centered as a fraternity,” said Brendan Godsel, High Theta in charge of planning the St. Baldrick’s philanthropy event this year.

When the men of the Iota-Sigma chapter decided to take their partnership with St. Baldrick’s to new heights two years ago,  they could not imagine the impact they would have with their efforts. Since the event began two years ago, the members have raised about 46,000 dollars for St. Baldrick’s.

The philanthropy event takes many weeks of planning, securing partners, and most importantly, fundraising. But when people are being called up to have their heads shaved at the event, Godsel says all of the long hours of planning are worth it.

“To have an event that then reaches out to people who know others affected by cancer, everyone wants to do it, people love participating,” said Godsel. “Even if you don’t shave your head, they still want to be at the event to support the cause.”

Godsel says that this event has quickly become one of their largest philanthropic efforts during the school year. Matched only by the event hosted to benefit Feeding America, the men are hoping that it will become bigger and bigger each year.

With the help of other student organizations, such as Relay for Life and Love Your Melon, the Iota-Sigma chapter has created one of the larger events on Valpo’s campus. Godsel says that the men are looking forward to starting the process over for next year’s event, which just so happens to be on Founder’s Day.

The members know that they may only play a small part in the St. Baldrick’s story, but through fundraising efforts, they have become a force for good in the fight against pediatric cancer.

“We want this event to be about St. Baldrick’s and not Lambda Chi Alpha having a good event,” said Godsel. “This is about raising money for sick children, so that’s what we are going to do.”

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