St. Baldrick’s is the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative
- March 16, 2012
|Set and staging for the ND St. Baldrick's event held March 16 at the
Missouri Family YMCA in Bismarck.
More than 200 people turned out to the Missouri Valley Family YMCA, Bismarck, ND, March 16 to watch heads shaved, hair fly, faces painted and to bid on nearly 100 silent auction items and countless baked goods – all in the name of a new holiday for North Dakota: St. Baldrick’s Day.
Since the event came to North Dakota in 2008, nearly 900 volunteers have shaved their heads in solidarity of children with cancer. In the five events Bismarck-Mandan has hosted, more than $700,000 has been raised for childhood cancer research and fellowships.
St. Baldrick’s is the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research. Since 2000, St. Baldrick’s events have taken place worldwide and in 50 states, raising more than $120 million. More than 190,000 volunteers have shaved their heads while requesting donations of support.
Today’s event surpassed previous years’ events in attendance in funds raised.
“While money is still coming in, I think we can safely say we surpassed the $200,000 level,” said Mike Eggl, Basin Electric senior vice president of External Relations and Communications. “That is outstanding. Every year we set the bar higher, and every year I continue to be amazed by the outpouring of support, generosity and enthusiasm for St. Baldrick’s. This event has grown organically, and today is proof that it has taken on a life of its own.”
Basin Electric CEO and General Manager Andrew M. Serri
Andrew M. Serri, Basin Electric’s CEO and General Manager, was equally impressed. “What an outstanding event. To see so many people come together for one terrific cause is the definition of community. I may be new to Bismarck-Mandan, but in my short time here, I feel as though I’ve found my home. I am humbled by the generosity and hearts of so many people. I’m proud that this event has grown to be what it is, and I’m thrilled that this year’s event was our biggest one yet.”
Adding to the events’ success was partnerships by area organizations. MDU Resources Group, NISC, Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, Great River Energy, Starion Financial, North American Coal, and the Missouri Valley Family YMCA joined Basin Electric in hosting this year’s event.
“I’d like to thank our partnering organizations for their commitment, time and dollars. Great things happen when like-minded organizations come together. This event would not be what it is without their support and elevation of this cause,” Serri said.
“Nothing is more difficult for a parent than to see their child suffering,” said Vern Dosch, NISC chief executive officer. “While all the money in the world cannot remove that anxiety, the funds raised through St. Baldrick’s show an incredible outpouring of love, support and concern. It gives us hope that young bodies can be healed and restored; hope that the research funded by this effort will lessen the occurrence of cancer; hope that the cancer that ravages lives will be wiped out forever, never to take another precious child. This event also renews our hope and faith in our communities, our employers, and our colleagues as we witness their extraordinary expressions of kindness and generosity.”
“The St. Baldrick's organization creates such a positive message of hope and courage to fight childhood cancer that Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson is thrilled to be a part of this year's event,” said Kayla Shafer, Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson government affairs specialist. “I'm sure the shavees are also thrilled to need sunscreen instead of stalking caps this year when they brave the shave!”
“There is always a buzz in the air at the St. Baldrick’s Day event, and it’s only partly to do with all those clippers,” said Cynthia Norland, vice president of administration at MDU Resources Group. “It’s fun and exciting to see your co-workers up on stage getting their heads shaved, but the real energy in the room comes from the understanding that all this is being done to help kids fight cancer. We’re proud to co-sponsor this great event, and we are equally proud of our employees who helped make it a success.”
“North American Coal and Coteau are pleased to join this tremendous group of organizations in sponsoring this great event,” said Caroll Dewing, president of Coteau. “We have already committed our partnership for next year’s event. I’m always amazed at how such a small state achieves such greatness.”
|Basin Electric's Mike Eggl interviews a young
Kicking off the event was a recognition of all honorees and families in attendance. The family of Ali Borgen of Grand Forks, who lost her battle to cancer last year, together with Ali’s friend, Farrah Heitkamp, Petersburg, ND, presented a check to the St. Baldrick’s foundation from proceeds from a preschool-led effort at Dakota Prairie Preschool, Petersburg. Additionally, the family of Aspen Heisler, 3, joined the Borgens on stage while Marsten Heisler, Aspen’s uncle, shaved his head. Aspen Heiser, 3, is undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma. Karen Hatch, mother of Monica Hatch, who died in 2007, donated more than 10 inches of hair.
Also jump starting the event was an auction to win the rights to shave Starion Financial President and CEO Craig Larson’s head. Winning the bid were Serri, Eggl, Ron Harper, Basin Electric former CEO and general manager, and Curt Walth, executive vice president of Starion Financial, at $4,500.
“This is my first time participating in the event,” Larson said. “I was a little nervous, but also excited to be joining a great group of people contributing to a great cause. I think cancer has touched us all in some way, and it’s even more heart-wrenching to see children suffer. I hope the money we help raise brings us a step closer to finding a cure."
This year marks the first year the Missouri Valley Family YMCA has hosted the event. “The YMCA’s commitment to youth development and enrichment makes them a natural partner,” Eggl said. “We’re happy to promote their Strong Kids Campaign through our event.”
"The YMCA was proud to host the 2012 St. Baldrick's event. A big thank you to everyone involved – the volunteers, the shavees, and all the organizations in Bismarck/Mandan that made this year's event a success! When we all work together as a community, we can make a meaningful and enduring impact on the lives of children,” said Andy Dahl, executive director, Missouri Valley Family YMCA.
Donations to North Dakota’s St. Baldrick’s event will be accepted through the end of April.