Updated: Monday, 22 Mar 2010, 11:04 AM CDT
Published : Saturday, 20 Mar 2010, 3:06 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin firefighters told cancer to buzz off Saturday afternoon with a good ol' head shave - all in efforts to raise money vital for childhood cancer research.
"It's just showing the children that we support them, that we're here with them and that we can shave our heads and look just like them to show them that we have a lot of support and a lot of love," said Austin Fire Department firefighter Bob Vickery, who participated in the event with his two young sons - Kellen, 6, and Tomsen, 4.
This is the second year Vickery's sons participated in the event with him, something he's done for the past three years. Vickery said the boys didn't hesitate and were eager to shave their heads.
"We were shaving out heads for the sick kids," said Kellen. "We wanted to raise money."
Austin firefighter Chris Moren was inspired to participate after his good friend lost his 5-year-old son to neuroblastoma .
"I got the guys fired up at my station," said Moren. "I think if you look at the guys at the fire station, we're all pretty motivated individuals. And when we find something to latch onto, we tend to go for it."
The St. Baldrick's Foundation raises money for childhood cancer research primarily through head-shaving events, like the one at Dell Children's Medical Center. About 160 people volunteered to shave their head for the event Saturday.
Volunteers - sponsored by family, friends and employers - go bald in solidarity with kids who typically lose their hair during cancer treatment.
"It's something good to be part of," said Moren. "It's easy, and it generates a lot of money. And hopefully, we can find a cure for cancer."
St. Baldrick's is world's largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research. The nonprofit organization funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government, it handed out more than $12 million in 2009.
Though St. Baldrick's is headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., its outreach efforts have hosted events across the globe in 24 countries and throughout the United States.
"Get involved. Find something - anything - that helps," advised Moren. "If everybody does their share, we might be able to find a cure for cancer or any other disease that's getting kiddos or adults."