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Darien Volunteer fire fighters shave their heads for childhood cancer

Published 12:45 pm, Saturday, March 9, 2013
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The Darien Volunteer Fire Department is known for donating its time to ensure the safety of the town, but on March 29, members will donate more than just their time, they'll donate all of their hair.

The Fire Department will participate in St. Baldrick's Day, a worldwide campaign to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer research.

Shane Smith, assistant fire chief, has been involved with St. Baldrick's Day for six or seven years.

He started with his softball team, and then a few years ago, he brought some of his fellow firefighters with him.

"We had an overwhelming response to do one of our own," Smith said.

So this year, the fire house will host its first St. Baldrick's event.

"We have 10 guys from the department signed up so far," Smith said.

Last year, the event raised $1,200, which was 240 percent more than their anticipated goal of $500.

This year, the bar has been set higher as the DVFD is seeking to raise $7,500.

As of early March, they have already raised $1,035, nearly surpassing last year's total.

Every year, St. Baldrick's honors the children that are fighting cancer, or who have succumbed to disease.

This year, one of those honored children is JR Schoen, who passed away in 2007.

In the seven years that St. Baldrick's has been active, a total of $103,450,166 has been raised and distributed in the form of grants to hospitals across the country.

One child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes, according to St. Baldrick's, and one in every five diagnosed will not survive.

Cancer is the leading cause of death among U.S. children older than 1, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The cause of childhood cancer is still widely unknown, according to the Pediatric Center Genome Project at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis.

The 10 major types of childhood cancer are leukemia, CNS, brain and spinal cord tumors, lymphomas, skin cancer, soft tissue tumors, germ cell tumors, neuroblastoma, bone cancers, renal cancer and retinoblastoma.

The event will take place at 7 p.m., Friday, March 29, at the Darien Fire House, 848 Post Road.

mspicer@bcnnew.com;203-972-4407;Twitter.com/Meg_DarienNews