Loading, Please Wait...
aA
Daily Journal
     March 11, 2020      #53-71 KDJ
 

Support, donations sought for 9th annual Manteno

By Stephanie Markham
smarkham@daily-journal.com


MANTENO — Tony Warsham’s son, Ben, was just 2 weeks old and weighed 5 pounds when he was first diagnosed with a rare brain tumor.

Ben is a two-time brain tumor survivor who will turn 12 years old in April.

Warsham, of Manteno, said his son’s experience is what inspired him to organize the annual St. Baldrick’s event in Manteno.

The event has raised $640,000 over the past eight years for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for Pediatric Cancer Research.

Over 850 people have bravely shaved their heads during that time to raise money for the cause and show solidarity with children undergoing chemotherapy and cancer treatment.

The 9th annual Manteno St. Baldrick’s event will be 1 to 6 p.m. March 14 at the Manteno Sportsmen’s Club, 851 N. Main St., Manteno.

Those who wish to shave their head, donate or provide sponsorship for the event can register at stbaldricks.org/events/Manteno2020. Information also is available on the Manteno St. Baldrick’s event Facebook page.

The fundraising goal is $100,000, a target that has been met for the past three years in a row. Last year, the event raised about $104,000.

“When the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in California looks at our area, they are blown away by the amount we do end up raising,” Warsham said. “They send representatives out to our event to see what we do to make it so successful.”

Warsham said he believes the success of the Manteno event can be attributed to supporters who come out “in droves” to stand with the children in their communities.

“We get involvement from pretty much the entire county,” he said. “The kids we bring in, we call them superheroes; they are cancer survivors or are currently in treatment. Their communities rally around them.”

The event will recognize 10 superheroes this year: Lauren Johnson, Ben Worsham, Madison Hubler, Ashlynn Zimmerman, Ayden Cox, Cameron Kanoski, Josephine Aprile, Dustin Marcum, Carter Fortin and Brody Carey. The children range in age from 7 to 15.

The event will also feature memorials of local children who have died from cancer.

“Once [children] join us, they become part of our family,” Warsham said.

Warsham said about 55 people have signed up so far to shave their heads, but walk-ins are encouraged as well. Usually around 80 to 90 people end up getting shaved, and around 500 to 600 people come to watch and support the event, he said.

Students from Paul Mitchell The School Bradley will be on hand providing head-shaving equipment and services.

“They jumped on board with us the first year we did this,” Warsham said. “It helps add the professionalism aspect [to the haircuts], so we are happy to have that partnership.”

Warsham said the event will serve as a pre-St. Patrick’s Day celebration, featuring music provided by Chicago-based DJ Danny “The Core-Bot” Corbett and entertainment by master of ceremonies James Field.

A MiaBella’s Pizza truck will be onsite along with a cash bar and raffle prizes. About 70 to 80 raffle baskets will be up for grabs, along with some bigger raffle prizes like TVs and sporting event tickets (such as Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears tickets).

Want to participate?

The ninth annual Manteno St. Baldrick’s event will be 1 to 6 p.m. March 14 at the Manteno Sportsmen’s Club, 851 N Main St., Manteno.

Those who wish to shave their head, donate or provide sponsorship for the event can register at stbaldricks.org/events/Manteno2020. Information is also available on the Manteno St. Baldrick’s event Facebook page.

1 of 1