Current Date: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 04:11:32 -0500
Chase Jones’ baseball career may have come to an end, but his BaseBald career is just getting started.
After the North Carolina baseball team’s 2 p.m. game against Georgia Tech on Saturday, Boshamer Stadium will be home to the third annual BaseBald event raising money in support of childhood cancer research.
Jones — a former UNC bullpen catcher and cancer survivor — has run the event the past two years, and though he graduated in May 2011, he plans to run it for many more years to come.
“After doing it for a couple of years, I wanted BaseBald to continue even though I was graduating,” Jones said. “And so I pitched the idea to St. Baldrick’s”
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity devoted to fighting childhood cancer, hired Jones in September, giving him an avenue to continue running BaseBald.
Not only has it continued, but it has spread to other schools throughout the country. This year alone, BaseBald raised more than $217,000 in support of cancer research.
For the event Saturday, Jones set a $25,000 goal. So far, more than $25,500 has been raised and 76 people have signed on to shave their heads — more than 30 from outside the baseball team.
All of Saturday’s proceeds will go to the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“In years past we’ve kind of centered it around the baseball team, which has been great,” Jones said. “But this year … it’s grown within the community.
“The goal is to make it more of a Chapel Hill event, which it has become.”
One person it has reached is junior anthropology major Sarah DeHart, who said she decided to join the cause after reading about last year’s event in The Daily Tar Heel.
DeHart said she has helped Jones with coordinating the event, reaching out to barbers and fundraising.
And she’s decided to go under the barbers’ clippers herself — for a reason that’s close to her heart.
“What’s really important to me about this event is women and girls who lose their hair to cancer and other unfortunate diseases feel like they’ve lost part of what makes them a woman,” DeHart said.
“And I want to contribute to research to make that not happen, as well as standing in solidarity with them and showing them that hair is not who you are, and you can be beautiful no matter what.”
People can get involved with the event as a monetary donor or a shavee on the University of North Carolina page on stbaldricks.org.
The shaving will begin immediately after the game ends Saturday, and it will take place on the field in front of the third base dugout, assuming the weather holds up.
“Chase already came to me, and he’s worried about the rain,’” head baseball coach Mike Fox said. “And I’m like, ‘don’t worry, you can shave heads anywhere.’”
But more than just shaving heads, Jones said he wants to convey the importance of contributing to the cause.
Jones said he’s been five years clean of cancer, but many people aren’t that lucky.
He knows donating can make a difference — just like it did for him.
“Both of my doctors that treated me and that cured me, they were both funded by the St. Baldrick’s foundation,” Jones said.
“That’s a neat situation, and hopefully we’ll be able to communicate that and let these people know that we’re going to provide that for the next child.”
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