More than 75 Hofstra students, faculty, and staff shaved their heads at the annual St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser today, raising a record-breaking $34,800 for children’s cancer research.
The amount is more than double last year’s total of $17,000 and exceeds the $25,000 goal the event’s organizers had set for the campus community. The majority of participants had their heads fully shaved, while some donated their hair to Locks of Love, an organization that makes hairpieces for children who have lost hair due to medical reasons.
Among the first to get shaved was Hofstra Provost and Senior Vice President Herman Berliner, who had agreed to go under the clippers if the $25K challenge was met. “It’s wonderful that we raised this amount for such a great cause, and I hope next year we raise $50,000,” he said. Asked what he thought of his new look, he joked, “I’m going swimming this afternoon and won’t even need to wear a bathing cap.”
Dr. Berliner was joined on stage by Andrew Fierstein, a first-year health science student fighting bone cancer since the age of five, as well as Honors College Senior Associate Dean Neil Donahue, who captained a team on Andrew’s behalf.
Before his haircut, Andrew, 19, spoke to the crowd in the Student Center atrium about having to drop out of his fall classes due to medical complications, and thanked the Hofstra community for its “overwhelming support.”
A team from the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine were the top fundraisers, raising almost half of this year’s total. The Hofstra Roller Hockey Team, which began the St. Baldrick’s Day event at Hofstra in 2009, came in second.
Alumnus and former roller hockey team member, Tom Kostiw’10, comes back every year to host the event. He has shaved his head for the last seven years, and will be honored this year by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation as a “Knight of the Bald Table” for his contributions to the cause.
“Pediatric cancer research doesn’t always get the money and attention that other cancers do, so it’s important that we have events like this,” said Kerry Fierstein, MD, Andrew’s mother, who attended the event with his father and brother. “Andrew is way past the protocols. He is in uncharted territory, and we’re looking for new and exciting therapies for him. There are therapies that he’s been on that were not available ten years ago, so we understand how important this research is.”
Visit the Hofstra Student Life Facebook page to see more pics of today’s event.