Firefighters were called to Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, TX — not to fight a fire, but to join the St. Baldrick's Foundation in finding a cure for pediatric cancer.
"Everybody has been affected by cancer one way or another. Being in the job that I'm in, we see a lot of stuff. And cancer really sucks when it's a kid," said Fire Specialist Chris Moren in an interview with dailyRx News.
Moren started shaving his head 10 years ago in honor of a friend's son who died from neuroblastoma, a type of cancer. This year, he sat beside all of the firefighters from Austin Fire Department's Station 14 at a St. Baldrick's head-shaving event to raise money for pediatric cancer research. The firefighters spent a year growing out their hair.
There are more than 1,000 St. Baldrick's head-shaving events held across the country each year.
Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes, and 1 in 5 US children with cancer will not survive their battle, according to the St. Baldrick's Foundation. The charity has funded more than $154 million in pediatric cancer research grants and is the largest volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising lifesaving research for kids.
Lt. Marshall Dandridge and his son Brandon both grew out their hair and even dyed it to get a few extra donations.
"It feels good that you're helping," Lt. Dandridge said. "I feel very fortunate. We have two healthy children that are teenagers and I feel they are very lucky, and some people don't have that opportunity. So any way we can give back is amazing."
Brandon said he had personal reasons for participating.
"I did it because one of my friends' moms had abdominal cancer, and she passed away before school started," Brandon said. "So that's kind of why I did it."
The event held at Dell Children's Medical Center raised more than $75,000. St. Baldrick's Foundation Volunteer Coordinator Caren Heilman said the local goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of this year.