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Article posted: 1/18/2013 6:30 PM

Vernon Hills police to get heads shaved for cancer


At noon Saturday, March 9, members of the Vernon Hills police department will be in the Gap Court at Westfield Hawthorn shopping center having their heads shaved as part of the St. Baldrick's event to raise money for children's cancer research and to show support for those youngsters who have lost their hair.

Last year, the Vernon Hills police department raised more than $13,000 and is hoping to surpass that total.

This year, one female officer, Sharon Joseph, has volunteered to shave her head.

Joseph said there are several reasons she volunteered.

"First, kids should not have to deal with being sick. They should only have to worry about what games they're going to play today," she said. "Next, parents shouldn't have to watch their children being treated for cancer (or any other illness). Being a parent myself, I know how hard it is to see my children sick and in the hospital. I know I would switch places with them in an instant if I could."

Parents should never have to bury a child, Joseph added.

"My brother, Matt, was 24 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. He fought for seven years before his body finally gave up. It will be 10 years on Feb. 22 and I still miss him every day. So if I can help raise money that will fund research that might find a cure for ALL and prevent other families from going through what mine did, I have no problem shaving my head."

The entire Joseph family, including 5-year-old Ryan and 9-year-old daughter Kaitlyn, will participate.

Worldwide, more than 175,000 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer each year. One out of every five of those children won't survive.

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is the world's largest volunteer-driven fundraising organization benefiting childhood cancer research. Since 2000, more than $150 million has been raised, including more than $31 million last year alone; and more than $23 million was given out as grants.

The foundation began because three men decided to turn their company's St. Patrick's Day party into a fundraiser. They had 20 volunteers and hoped to raise "$17,000 on the 17th." They raised over $104,000.

How did they do it? By shaving their heads. Because that's what many children with cancer have to deal with: a bald head. So instead of St. Patrick's, they made it "St. BALDrick's."

To sponsor the department members, visit www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/7662/2013. You can also sponsor specific shavers or volunteers from that page.

For information contact volunteer event organizer, Officer Jim Koch (847) 362-4449 or jkoch@vhills.org or Officer Sharon Joseph (847) 247-4889 or sjoseph@vhills.org.

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