UC Santa Cruz Goes Bald to Support Childhood Cancer Research

Staff and students join St. Baldrick’s Foundation event to raise money to fight childhood cancer

Aurora helps the barber shave Katrina’s hair

SANTA CRUZ, CA – Oct. 19, 2020  – UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute’s Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative will host its fifth annual head-shaving event Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 12-1 pm, raising research funds for The St. Baldrick’s Foundation. 

St. Baldrick’s is a volunteer-powered organization dedicated to raising money for children’s cancer research. For the past five years, UCSC faculty, staff and students have gathered in person to shave heads, to raise money — and awareness — for this esteemed organization. This year, with the event going virtual for the first time, distance no longer has to be an obstacle to joining in.  Anyone can sign up to fundraise or shave, here.

Whether you are shaving or are there to offer moral support, shavees and their audience look forward to the thrill of seeing friends and family going bald for a worthy cause. An equally exciting sight is watching donations roll in and learning whether UC Santa Cruz will be able to recapture its crown. The campus won its first Battle of the Bald St. Baldrick’s competition back in 2016. Then, they shaved 28 heads and raised $29,488. Read about it here in St. Baldrick’s blog.

Sponsored by the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute’s Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative, the October 21st virtual event is once again open to the public. Everyone who wants to support those shaving or sign up to go bald can do so at www.stbaldricks.org/events/UCSC2020

“It’s a fantastic way to show your support for kids undergoing treatment for childhood cancer,” said organizer Katrina Learned, a UCSC Treehouse staff member who has shaved in honor of her daughter Aurora. Aurora, a childhood cancer survivor, was also one of the inspirations for founding the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute’s Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative.

Every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer; one in five won’t survive, and those who do often suffer long-term effects from treatments. Donations raised at events like this have made it possible for St. Baldrick’s to fund more than $200 million to support the development of childhood cancer treatments that are as unique as every kid. Some of this is invested in projects using St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds at UCSC Treehouse in our continued battle against childhood cancer — like an 11,000+ tumor database available for use by all researchers in the pediatric cancer community and beyond. Learn more at treehousegenomics.ucsc.edu/explore-our-data.

About the Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative

The mission of the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute’s Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative is to change the story for childhood cancer patients by employing genomic data and computational approaches that could identify less toxic and more effective treatments. Treehouse analyzes a child’s cancer data against both childhood and adult patient cohorts across all types of cancer. This “pan-cancer” analysis of adult and pediatric tumors may identify situations where an adult drug is predicted to work on a subset of pediatric patients. Learn more at treehousegenomics.ucsc.edu.

About the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute

Comprising diverse researchers from a variety of disciplines across academic divisions, the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute leads UC Santa Cruz’s efforts to unlock the world’s genomic data and accelerate breakthroughs in health and evolutionary biology. Our platforms, technologies, and scientists unite global communities to create and deploy data-driven, life-saving treatments and innovative environmental and conservation efforts. Learn more at genomics.ucsc.edu.

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation believes that kids are special and deserve to be treated that way. St. Baldrick’s funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts who are working to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. Kids need treatments as unique as they are – and that starts with funding research just for them. Join us at StBaldricks.org to help support the best cancer treatments for kids.