Tuesday, May 28 2013 • Local residents shave their heads for charity

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday <ay 28, 2013, edition of the Lassen County Times

The Diamond Mountain Casino and Hotel was packed with family and friends in support of those who agreed to shave their head and raise money for cancer research.

The inaugural St. Baldrick’s Bald Games, held Saturday, May 18 at the Diamond Mountain Casino and Hotel, was by all accounts a smashing success. Hundreds of community members packed the casino to cheer on friends and family who signed up to publicly sacrifice their hair in an effort to raise money for childhood cancer research.

City council member Nick McBride shares his thoughts will Shawna Mallery works on shaving his head at the St. Baldrick’s childhood cancer fundraiser May 18.

Casino Manager Campbell Jamieson said the event brought in more than $20,000, which far exceeded his expectations.

“We were hoping for 20 shavees and $3,000,” said Jamieson. “It’s all thanks to the community getting behind it.”

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation came up with the idea to recruit volunteers to shave their heads in return for pledges of financial support because the treatment typically given to children with cancer causes them to lose their hair.

Radley Shipes smiles at his new do after shaving his head during the Bald Games.

A total of 81 brave, compassionate souls — including 11 women and many children — took turns in the barber chair, donning a hairdresser’s gown and giving themselves over to one of seven local hairdressers who donated their time and skills for the cause. Onlookers snapped pictures and shared laughs while volunteers sucked up clumps of hair in vacuums.

Jamieson said about 32 people volunteered to help with the event, of which about half were casino employees. KSUE News Director Mike Smith emceed for the evening and local businesses donated raffle prizes.

“It was spectacular and really fun,” said Jamieson. “We look forward to next year’s event.”

Lassen Community College graduate Zachary Clary sits patiently while stylist Suzanne Rice shaves off his wavy locks for charity.

Elena Kruegel, a waitress at the casino and Susanville School District cafeteria employee, raised the most money — $1,374.

Kruegel said she feels God has blessed her for what she has because some people have nothing. She said she wanted to do something meaningful for her 50th birthday and the Bald Games filled the bill.

“I’m a single grandma raising my two grandkids. I work my butt off 70 to 75 hours a week at two jobs,” said Kruegel. “This was a gift for myself and others.”

Kruegel said she was able to raise the money thanks to her generous coworkers at both jobs.

Sam Williams, Lassen County Times Managing Editor, let local hairdresser Shawna Mallery shave his head for St. Baldrick’s Bald Games held May 18 at the Diamond Mountain Casino and Hotel.

“I had casino workers who make minimum wage handing me money,” she said, “and at the schools I asked everyone… teacher’s aides, cafeteria people…”

Jamieson said because the event was so successful, the casino petitioned the city to proclaim May 18 as St. Baldrick’s Day, and they complied.

The casino plans to hold St. Baldrick’s Bald Games every year in mid-May. So, if you didn’t get a chance to get a free haircut this year, there’s always next year.