ALGONQUIN – What started as a simple decision to join a fun charity event became a roller coaster ride for Greg Freund.
The Shamrock Shave, hosted annually by St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, raises money for the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation and The Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Participants get pledges to shave their heads during the St. Patrick’s Day event, which also offers entertainment, food and kid-friendly activities.
Freund is a member of the church, and he joined in to give back and participate in a fun event, he said. But the meaning changed once his daughter, Talia Freund, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in July 2016 and died from the disease in April 2017.
“I never expected to be in that position ever in my life,” Greg Freund said. “But [I told her] ‘Now people are going to be doing this for you. The tables have turned.’ ”
The March before Talia was diagnosed, Greg Freund hadn’t participated in the Shamrock Shave. In July several months after her diagnosis, when she was expected to lose her hair, he and about six or seven other friends and family members shaved their heads at the hospital with his daughter.
Greg Freund plans to continue the tradition by raising money for cancer research.
He now wants to start a “Team Talia” foundation that will raise and donate money toward cancer research.
Team Talia raised about $10,000 last year. Greg Freund said he would hope to keep up the success, but he doesn’t have a specific monetary goal for this year’s event.
The Shamrock Shave will be at 5:30 p.m. March 17 at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 119 S. Hubbard St., Algonquin.
Numerous McHenry County-based St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving events will take place this month to benefit childhood cancer research. A full list of events is available at www.stbaldricks.org/register/shavee.