Hair, the irreverent rock musical of the 1960’s, proclaimed its glory in song: “Gimmie head with hair/long beautiful hair/shining, gleaming/streaming/flaxen, waxen./ Gimmie down to there/Shoulder length or longer.”

A study by the New York Post, reported at, revealed that participants reported spending $58 per month on haircuts, hair products, and shaving supplies. That figure was based on spending $34 for a haircut and $15 for hair products. If you have long hair and have gone to a beauty shop recently, you know that figure is much too low. A more realistic figure would be $80 for a color, trim, and set/blow dry plus a 20% tip.

There is no doubt that Americans love their hair. Here is the question. Would you shave your head to raise money to fund research to find a cure for pediatric cancer? Wow! That’s a hard question to answer, especially if you’re a woman. We’re used to seeing men with shaved heads, but it’s different with a woman.

Then there’s the practical consideration. Hair only grows half an inch a month. That’s only six inches in a year. For a woman with long hair, it would take years to regrow that much hair. Besides, even during that time, the hair would need to be trimmed every six to eight weeks to keep the ends from splitting.

Maybe you’ve heard about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the top private funder of childhood cancer research grants in the U.S. and around the world. What started as a challenge between three friends in New York City on March 17, 2000 has grown into a charity famous for its head-shaving events. Individuals agree to have their heads shaved for contributions to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Currently, 83% of the money raised by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is through these head-shaving events. According to, “Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $234 million to support lifesaving research, making the St. Baldrick’s Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants.”

People sometimes ask about the name of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Is there a real St. Baldrick? Apparently not. According to the article at, the name “St. Baldrick’s” is a combination of the words “bald” and “St. Patrick’s” since the first event was held on March 17, 2000, which is St. Patrick’s Day.

The head-shaving events generate the most money and publicity for St. Baldrick’s Day, but corporate sponsors are also very important to the foundation. In addition, donations of goods or services such as office supplies, event T-shirts, advertising space, and printing help keep expenses down. Volunteers are also essential to the success of the foundation.

If your child has cancer and needs pediatric private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video of a head-shaving event, go to Mackenzie Shaves Her Head for Charity—St. Baldrick’s—March, 2012 YouTube at