Cougars baseball team getting shaved for cancer research
The cleanest-cut baseball team around is sure to be the College of Charleston following Saturday’s home game against Samford.
As part of a St. Baldrick’s Foundation event, players and coaches have agreed to have their heads shaved as part of an effort to raise money for childhood cancer research.
Initially setting a goal of raising $3,000, the team exceeded that last week and is now up to approximately $4,200. And one of the biggest fundraisers has been Cougars first baseman Rob Harding, who has helped raised $1,650.
“My father passed away when I was 20 months old from colon cancer. And my older brother was diagnosed with leukemia when he was born and was in treatment for three years and four months. Obviously, cancer has been a big part of my life,” Harding said.
Cougars coach Monte Lee said he was approached this spring by former University of North Carolina player Chase Jones about participating.
“He explained the program, and I said, ‘We’re in. We’ll do whatever we can to help,’ ” Lee said, adding that the Cougars would wait until the weather was a little warmer before shaving their heads.
St. Baldrick’s began in 2000, when three friends turned a St. Patrick’s Day party into a head-shaving event to benefit kids with cancer and raised more than $104,000.
From that beginning, St. Baldrick’s Foundation has raised more than $117 million for childhood cancer research.
Following the game, the Cougars will have a short T-ball game with 5-year-old Mack Shieder of Charleston, who threw out the first pitch for the recent College of Charleston-South Carolina baseball game. Shieder has been diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myelocytic leukemia.
The players and coaches then will line up and three barbers from Thomas’ Barber Shop will give them a clean cut.
“I wrote on my web page that ‘I’m 22 and already losing my hair. I might not get it back,’ ” Harding said.
“The smile on Mack’s face when he threw out the first pitch in our game against South Carolina sent chills up my body. I thought to myself, ‘If this little boy that is going through so much in his life because of this disease can come out here and throw a baseball, why can’t I just shave my head bald and help raise money to save amazing young kids like him?’ ”