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March 13, 2012

Firefighters And Cops Turn Up The Heat

Competition in Oswego County continues to grow

COPS AND FIREFIGHTERS FACE OFF FOR ANNUAL ST. BALDRICK'S COMPETITION - Doug Kells, owner of Doug's Barbershop in Oswego and a veteran St. Baldrick's volunteer barber, tries to keep peace between Oswego County Undersheriff Gene Sullivan (left) and Oswego City Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie. Make your donation today to support the cops, firefighters and the kids they're helping. Visit their Web site at www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/337/2012.

OSWEGO - It takes a community to cure childhood cancer and the Oswego County community has responded once again as the sixth annual St. Baldrick's Foundation fundraiser, scheduled for Thursday, March 22, draws near.

"The Oswego Firefighters Association has played a significant role in our efforts these last few years," said Dan Witmer, local event organizer. "This year they are joined by the local law enforcement community in a friendly competition between the groups which, so far, is proving to be very beneficial to our cause. Over 40 percent of what we have raised so far this year has come from the efforts of these two groups."

In just over a decade, the St. Baldrick's Foundation has grown to a point where they now provide more research dollars to childhood cancer than any other organization except the U.S. government. Each year firefighters around the world are one of the single largest groups to rally around this cause. That passion and commitment is true here in Oswego County as well.

"Whether we are fighting a fire or educating the public on fire prevention, our primary focus is saving lives," said Jeff McCrobie Oswego City Fire Chief. "Hopefully, our support for the St. Baldrick's Foundation will help save a few more as well."

The New York State Police, the Oswego County Sheriff's Deputies and the Oswego City Police Department have all recognized the need to rally around the 160,000 children who are diagnosed with cancer each year. They have formed teams and the race is now on to see if the "cops" can outpace the firefighters in the 2012 Oswego-based event.

Oswego County Undersheriff Gene Sullivan volunteered this year to shave his head on behalf of the department and was heard to say, "Anybody that knows me, knows that it's all about the hair; except when it comes to kids with cancer. After March 22, I'll be bald by choice where many of them are not." Acknowledging the spirit of the competition, Sullivan added, "Whether it's the cops or the firemen who raise the most money, in the end the winners will be the kids."

With just two weeks left in the campaign, more than 120 volunteer "shavees" have stepped forward to join the police officers and firefighters at the annual shave-a-thon. Men and women from all walks of life: teachers, athletes, children, school administrators and more will converge on the SUNY Oswego Campus Center Food Court at 7 p.m. on March 22 where licensed barbers and stylists have volunteered to shave the heads of each and every one. The event also features silent and live auctions including items like autographed sports gear and equipment, merchandise from local retailers, gift certificates to some of the area's finest restaurants and much more.

This is the sixth year that the SUNY Oswego athletic department will sponsor the Oswego event. This year includes St. Baldrick's teams represented by members of the lacrosse, tennis, soccer, hockey, and track and field teams at the university.

In addition to signing up to be a shavee, individuals and organizations can help in other ways. Donations are still being sought for raffle prizes, business sponsorships can help add to the head-shaving event itself, and anyone can support an individual by check or cash or make a personal donation by check, phone, or online at www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/337/2012.

More about the St. Baldrick's Foundation:

The St. Baldrick's Foudation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and to give survivors long and healthy lives. The Foundation funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. St. Baldrick's funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world, and to younger professionals who will be the experts of tomorrow. Funds awarded also enable hundreds of local institutions to participate in national pediatric cancer clinical trials, a child's best hope for a cure. The Foundation has funded over $78 million in childhood cancer research since it began awarding grants as an independent charity in 2005. For more information about the St. Baldrick's Foundation, call 1-800-899-BALD, visit www.stbaldricks.org, or contact Dan Witmer at daniel.witmer@oswego.edu.

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