This year, Treehouse’s St. Baldrick’s Brave the Shave fundraiser featured five brave shavees — four of whom shaved live, on camera. We exceeded our fundraising goal, raising $10,213 for pediatric cancer research! We are so, so, so grateful to everyone who contributed!
If you missed donating to one of our brave shavees before the event, our page will remain live and donations to this drive will be accepted through Dec. 31 2020.
Among the returning shavees was Arjun Rao. Arjun was a graduate student at UCSC when he developed his ProTECT pipeline for use in predicting T-cell epitopes for cancer therapy. His ProTECT pipeline was originally conceived for use on pediatric patient data to help physicians find immunotherapy treatments, which then progressed to being broadly applied to all types of cancer.
At a 2016 fundraising event, Arjun shared that when he heard Katrina Learned speak about Aurora’s pediatric cancer at our first fundraiser in 2014, he was inspired to focus on pediatric cancer for his Ph.D.
This year, Arjun expanded his cause to donate his hair to make wigs for cancer warriors. “No kid should have to go through hair loss due to toxic treatments,” Arjun said. “I’m raising money for researchers to identify immunotherapies that will provide a better arsenal for kids to fight their cancers. I’m shaving my head so I can protect a champion from getting bullied over their hair loss,” he elaborated.
Aurora’s cousin and Katrina’s nephew, Kian Witten-Hannah, first shaved in 2017 and returned to shave again every year since. Kian is especially connected to this cause, because his cousin, Aurora, was diagnosed with a form of pediatric cancer at just 2 months old. Although he was only a couple years old when she was diagnosed, it changed him and Aurora’s whole family, this kind of trauma is not easily forgotten. Kian hopes that his contribution in participating in the fundraiser, and yours by donating, will help, even just a tiny bit, with St Baldrick’s mission of funding pediatric cancer research for better, less harmful treatments and cures.
Veteran shavee Donovan Beck has been shaving his head and donating since March 2006 because raising awareness and funds for childhood cancer research is important to him. He says the cause is also important for his family and many of my friends, who have driven me to continue my participation.
“I am extremely thankful for Dr. David Haussler, Dr. Olena Morozova Vaske, Katrina Learned, and many other members of the UCSC Genomics Institute for their contributions to the field,” says Donovan. “Their leadership, coordination, and dedication is tangible. While The Battle for the Bald is not over, every year we all can understand the issues clearer,” he said.
We’re so thrilled that our first virtual #BravetheShave event was a success. If you would like to sign up to be a shavee, donate, or get involved, visit stbaldricks.org/events/UCSC2020.