The Joliet Catholic Academy community came together Wednesday, March 9, 2016 during their annual Spring Fling week to raise money in support of conquering childhood cancers. The annual JCA St. Baldrick’s event has now raised over $36,000, with donations still pouring in even weeks after the event. Participants included current JCA students and staff members, while area hairdressers and barbers volunteered their time to shave heads for the worthy cause.
Six current JCA staff members and fourteen students “braved the shave”, enticing others to raise money in support of St. Baldrick’s. Junior Nick Sandora was this year’s top fundraiser, bringing in over $21,000. Eight additional JCA students Miguel Moreno, Matt Jorgensen, Tanner McClintock, John Myers, Ethan Goolsby, Jared Olson, Jacob Mihelich, and Walter Osterberger all raised over $1,000 individually.
JCA teacher and St. Baldrick’s organizer Mrs. Suzi Arnett said, “I’m so proud of the JCA community. Our success was due to the compassion we feel for serving others.”
Junior Nick Sandora was motivated to help out the cause when learning the story of 7 year old Payton O’Brien of Elmhurst, who lost his battle with Osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer, just before Christmas. Sandora said, “Payton’s mother is friends with my aunt, and I wanted to reach out to their family and help support this cause. We sent e-mails, reached out to friends, family, neighbors and networked by word of mouth.”
Sandora and many of his classmates have plans to continue their fundraising efforts through St. Baldrick’s in the upcoming years. Volunteers who dedicate years of service are recognized by St. Baldrick’s for their efforts. Sandora has a goal of becoming a “Knight of the Bald Table”, which honors volunteers who give seven years of service to the cause. Sandora said, “Every year I get a new found appreciation for the struggle others are going through and how blessed I’ve been to be healthy. My plan is go bigger each and every year with this event.”