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Lansing man raises money to help fund childhood cancer research

LANSING, Ill. (March 20, 2024) – 21-year-old Ted Gray of Lansing shaved off his hair to raise money to make a difference in the lives of children with cancer. Gray raised over $5,000 and recruited 10 others to shave their heads at a St. Baldrick’s fundraiser at J.J. Kelley’s on March 16.

Qualifying participants donated their hair to charities that manufacture wigs for kids with cancer.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Eleven people volunteered to shave their heads to raise money for research into a cure for children’s cancers. (Photo provided)

St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer and donor-powered charity committed to raising money to fund research to find a cure for childhood cancers.

The non-profit organization is known for its head-shaving fundraiser program.

“The whole point is that you say you’re going to shave your head and people will send you money to encourage you to do it,” Gray said. “The money then goes toward research for children’s cancer.”

Cancer awareness

Gray’s first encounter with cancer donations took place when his grandmother was diagnosed with the disease.

“When I was really little, her daughter — my aunt — shaved her head, and I didn’t know why or what it was about then, but now I know what it was for,” Gray said.

A few years ago, he learned about St. Baldrick’s when his friends attended one of its fundraisers at the American Legion in Lansing.

Afterward, he connected with the organization to become a volunteer which led to him organizing a head shaving fundraiser.

“I look at it like I’m going to shave my head anyway so if I’m going to do it I might as well do it in a way that can help people that are in a less fortunate position than myself,” Gray said. “That was my mindset behind it.”

St. Baldrick’s at J.J. Kelley’s

Gray is currently an employee at J.J. Kelley’s restaurant in Lansing. He says J.J. Kelley’s has hosted a huge St. Patrick’s Day party for over 10 years so he thought this year’s bash would be a great opportunity to include the fundraiser.

Participants who met the hair donation qualifications sent their hair to charities that manufacture wigs for kids with cancer. (Photo provided)

He teamed up with his friend Christopher Alvarez to organize a head-shaving fundraiser to raise $5,000. The donation total was over $6,000 before Saturday’s event ended.

Eleven volunteers, including Gray, received haircuts during the event at J.J. Kelley’s but only five had hair long enough to donate to charities who make wigs for kids with cancer. A few participants planned to send their hair to the charity Locks of Love.

Attendees could scan a QR code to donate while volunteers were getting their hair cut on stage in front of a large crowd.

The donation link will be live until the end of the year. To support St. Baldrick’s, visit the link below:

More information about St. Baldrick’s Foundation is available at www.stbaldricks.org

The Lansing Community came together to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and support a good cause at J.J. Kelley’s restaurant. (Photo provided)

J.J. Kelley’s is located at 2455 Bernice Road in Lansing.

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Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.