For much of the Tech community, the morning of March 11 proved to be one of the most confusing times of the semester.
Why was everyone bald? Was there a massive lice outbreak or, worse, a massive joke they had missed out on? The truth came as a relief; the night before had been St. Baldricks, an event in which tears are shed by girlfriends and shampoo companies alike.
Once a year, people from all over Atlanta crowd into Ri Ra Irish Pub to either shave their head or cheer on the brave souls in the barber chairs.
The event has even become an unofficial part of Tech’s annual Greek Week, with the three highest donating teams, DU, TKE and FIJI, raising a total of over $56,400 among them.
The event, which raised almost $37,000,000 for childhood cancer research in 2015, began with a simple office bet: Tim Kenney challenged coworkers John Bender and Enda McDonnell to shave their heads for donations to childhood cancer charities. One year later, in March of 2000, the first official St. Baldrick’s event was held in Manhattan.
The trio had expected to raise $17,000 between their 17 shavees but left Jim Brady’s Pub that night with $104,000 and two extra bald heads. The next year’s event raised a total of $140,000, giving Bender and McDonnell the confidence to begin holding multiple events
The spring of 2002 played host to 37 St. Baldricks events, bringing the organization’s total donations past the one million mark.
Since then, they have played a large role in the world of cancer research by funding oncology training and hosting the Research Priority Summit.