Montross Fire Department hosts St. Baldrick’s event for children’s cancer research
Story and photos by Nikki Clifton, Contributing Writer
On March 31 the Montross Volunteer Fire Department hosted a silent auction as a benefit for the St. Balderick’s charity in the department’s dining hall.
St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.
Jane Kaye Sisson’s grandson, Wesley Berry, of King George, has been fighting brain cancer since June 2007. Since then he has had several re-occurrences and is currently receiving treatment for a third tumor through a new clinical trial at Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C.
“It’s important to me to participate in this event not just for my Wesley, but also for all of the other children so that no others will have to go through what we’ve been through” said Sisson. “Wesley is a super seventeen-year-old young man and he has never complained about anything. He’s a huge Yankees fan and is always in good spirits. He’s an inspiration.”
The members of the fire department took their commitment to their goal a step further. Team members included a “shave-off” during the event and had their heads shaved by Monica Dowell of Shear Madness in support of the concept. For those ladies who were not willing to part with all of their hair, Locks of Love accepted their “partial” donations.
“This is our first time doing this, but we hope to do it annually,” said Brian Weston, a member of the fire department. “I had a cousin pass from brain cancer, and we saw this as a way to help kids. I went to a St. Balderick’s event in Northern Virginia and thought it was a great concept. I then went online and set our team up and in three weeks we raised $800.”
More than 35 items for the silent auction were donated by large companies and small businesses around the Northern Neck from WalMart to Angelo’s Pizza.
“You don’t normally hear about a cause to raise money for kids with cancer, and I thought this was a great way for me to get involved,” said Montross VFD member David Morgans. “It’s good to give back and to let kids know that they are supported and that they will be OK.”
When asked if she was nervous about being bald, Samantha Balderson smiled and responded, “No, not at all. Sometimes girls think they need things to make them beautiful, but all you really need is confidence.”