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McHenry Community Shave gears up for record

McHENRY – Carl Vallianatos is proud to see how the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraising events are shaping up for March.

“Last year, we had 381 people participate,” said Vallianatos, assistant principal at McHenry High School West Campus. “I’m pretty confident we’ll go past that this year.”

The annual fundraising events for pediatric cancer research, scheduled for March 14 at West Campus, already are on pace to draw more participants throughout the McHenry community.

As of Wednesday on the St. Baldrick’s Foundation website, “McHenry Community Shave” had 350 people registered to get their heads shaved for cancer research and support, raising $37,065 so far.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a national charity that supports pediatric cancer research. St. Baldrick’s volunteers raise money for the cause by having their heads shaved bald for donations. And some donate long locks to other organizations that provide wigs for patients with hair loss caused by long-term cancer treatments.

This March will mark the third year for the communitywide fundraising effort, Vallianatos said. Local schools, civic groups and businesses in McHenry are teaming up to fulfill this year’s theme, “Shaving a World of Difference,” in which the community attempts to become St. Baldrick’s “largest shave” in the world.

In 2009, McHenry West High School students helped introduce St. Baldrick’s to the community, dedicating the first fundraiser to Jackson Grabow, a 2-year-old McHenry boy who had a rare brain tumor.

He died about a month after the fundraiser.

Since then, the annual event garnered wider support from various groups and businesses in McHenry.

“It’s been really uniting,” Vallianatos said. “Just about everyone in the community knows about St. Baldrick’s.”

McHenry Mayor Sue Low is set to get her head shaved for St. Baldrick’s for the third time.

“When kids are doing something so right, I think it’s our responsibility to support them and let them know that we’re with them,” she said.

To register for the community shave, go to the foundation’s website,, and type “McHenry Community Shave” in the search box.

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