*File photo
*File photo

Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre is pleased to announce a new partnership with The St. Baldrick's Foundation, a charity dedicated to funding childhood cancer research and which generates more charitable income for cancer research than even the American Cancer Association. It is the world's largest volunteer driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research and thousands of volunteers shave their heads in solidarity with children fighting cancer, requesting donations of support from friends and family.

“St. Baldrick’s has been celebrated in Bermuda since 2002 raising over $127,543,680 in research grants for childhood cancer,” says Deborah Titterton Narraway, Marketing Manager at Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre. “When presented with the opportunity to work with St. Baldrick’s we wanted to find a local programme that could benefit from not only the funding support but that complimented each other goal of supporting children.”

In Bermuda, a portion of the funds raised will support the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre’s SunSmart Programme which works in the local schools and summer camps to increase awareness amoung our youth about the importance of practicing sun safe behaviors in order to reduce their risk of developing skin cancer later in life.  One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life and a person's risk for melanoma also doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age!

“In Bermuda we have seen an alarming 25-30% increase in the numbers of persons diagnosed with skin cancer each year since 2010” states Ms. Titterton Narraway.  “According to the Bermuda National Tumor Registry our incident rate of melanoma in the adult population is 12% higher than reported by the National Cancer Institute for the U.S. this is alarming considering melanoma is highly preventable.”

Head-shaving, while not mandatory to participate, has always drawn smiles and applause from participants and spectators. There are currently three local events scheduled for 2014 - visit chc.bm for more information on how to volunteer and participate in these events:

• Bermuda Athletic Association open to the public – March 14th

• Saltus Grammar School open to students, parents, staff and alumni – March 14th

• Somersfield Academy open to students, parents, staff and alumni – June 24th

In addition, a representative from Locks of Love will be on hand for those who wish to donate their hair—even if they just want it cut not shaved. Lock of Love mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children.

Visit the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre website for more information and links to both St. Baldrick’s events where shaves can be sponsored www.chc.bm