After seeing a story in the school newspaper about one of her teachers (Mrs. McKenzie) shaving her head for St. Baldrick’s in 2014, Kelsey Koester decided she would like to participate this year. “I didn’t tell my parents right away because (I knew) my mom would freak out,” she said. “I waited until February and then started raising money. I mainly did it because my grandpa had cancer, and if I could help prevent one person from losing their life to cancer it would be worth it.”
Her goal was to raise $650 and her final total came to $800. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation makes it easy to raise money by allowing participants to register on their website and set up an account to collect the donations. Koester shared the link on Facebook and Twitter so family and friends could donate in her name.
The 2015 St. Baldrick’s event in Bismarck raised a total of $402,799 and had 363 shavees. Some of Koester’s classmates raised money but did not shave their heads. “A lot of people do that,” she said.
The decision to shave it all off did not come easy. Especially because of the amount of hair Koester had. “I had considered just cutting off a little bit, I really have not cut my hair since I was a sophomore. But, after deciding to shave it all off, I have no regrets. It was a really rewarding experience.”
For more information about the St. Baldrick foundation, visit stbaldricks.org. Koester has already inspired someone to shave their head in the future, “One of my sisters said she is going to do it her senior year, too.”