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Catch the buzz at head-shaving event

Brian Rittenberry to perform at childhood cancer fundraiser


    Jasper firefighters (l-r) Zeb McAllister, Ryan Payne, and Chief Steve Roper. Not pictured are firefighters Trevor Beavers and Zack McAllister. All five will shave their heads for childhood cancer.


   Jasper Fire Chief Steve Roper admits the five firemen who agreed to shave their heads to raise money for childhood cancer aren’t going look much different after the job is done.

    “I think the longest hair would have to be Ryan Payne at about an inch,” said Jasper Fire Chief Steve Roper, who is heading up Team JFD as part of the St. Baldrick’s fundraising event at Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Saturday, April 6.  “Around here we all look like Marine recruits so it’s not like we’re going to be much different, but it’s the thought behind it that’s important.”
    The St. Baldrick’s foundation encourages groups, businesses or individuals to host headshaving events like the one this weekend, which invites people to come together and shave their heads in solidarity to the 175,000 children around the world who will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
      Teams of “shavees” like the Team JFD have helped St. Baldrick’s fund over $125 million in research grants since 2005, including more than $25 million in 2013.
    “Children’s cancer research is way underfunded,” said event organizer Ashley Sebastiani. “St. Baldrick’s is the number two funder for research grants in the world. I chose this program because there were two women at our church who were diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time and we wanted to do a fundraiser, but because they work so closely with children they wanted us to do something for childhood cancer.”
    Team JFD is one of four local teams that will be at this weekend’s event. Other teams are Team Rittenberry, the Sebastiani Family team and The Shuman Gang, all four with a total goal of raising $5,000. As of press time the teams had reached just over 50 percent of that goal.
    Sebastiani says the event is open to the public, and will feature live head shaving, and performances by Brian Rittenberry – the Pickens resident who was featured on American Idol – as well as the Mt. Zion Children’s Choir.
    Speakers for the day will include the best friend of Jade “Jado” Anderson, the Pickens student who was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2012, and Tanya Kyle, who has worked extensively with the “Look Good, Feel Better” program that provides women with beauty supplies and tips while they undergo chemotherapy treatment. 
     Sebastiani says there will be 15-20 raffle and door prizes given out during the day, ranging from $17 to $200 in value. Prizes include a massage gift certificate, a Vera Bradley backpack, a family portrait session, restaurant gift cards, a house cleaning certificate and many others.
    You can make a donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation team of your choice on the day of the event, or you can visit to learn more about each team and make a contribution online.
    The event will be held at Mt. Zion Baptist Church this Saturday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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