Nursing Students Go Bald to Support Childhood Cancer Research

March 27, 2024

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest charity funder of children's cancer research grants, will host one of its signature head-shaving events at Hudson Valley Community College, April 27, where several students, faculty and community members will shave their heads to raise money for lifesaving childhood cancer research.

Hosted by the Niemond Zonders Club, the official student organization of the college’s Nursing program, the event will take place noon to 4 p.m. at the Student Pavilion, or in the event of inclement weather, at the McDonough Sports Complex. Community members are invited to attend the carnival-themed celebration, sign up to become a “shavee,” and meet local families impacted by childhood cancer.

The event will feature family-friendly activities, including DJ D. Scott from Jamz 96.3 FM, Silly Snaps Photobooth, face painting, ice cream sundae station, popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, pizza, cornhole, ring toss, putting green, and more. There is no fee to attend, and donations are voluntary. Advanced registration is encouraged but walk-ins are welcome.

Every two minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer worldwide, and in the U.S. one in five kids diagnosed won’t survive. Even for kids who do survive, by the time they’re 50, more than 99 percent have had a chronic health problem and 96 percent have experienced severe or life-threatening conditions.

This is the first time a St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event will be held at Hudson Valley Community College. Nursing students and faculty will be among the first to participate in the challenge. Kate Rodriguez, associate professor of nursing and lead advisor of the Neimond Zonders Club, shared her personal motivation for bringing the event to campus.

“Cancer touches everyone's life at some point, and children are so innocent and vulnerable to this horrible disease,” said Rodriguez, whose father died of cancer when she was still an infant. “Our Nursing students embody the compassion and commitment needed to care for our community. Through this event, we have the power to do just that.”

Among those shaving their heads is Isaac Dutcher, a senior Nursing student who is considering a career in pediatric intensive care after graduation.

“Shaving my head is the least I can do to show my support,” Dutcher said. “It's not just about the hair; it's about showing love to the children and their families fighting pediatric cancer. We're all in this together, rocking the bald look for a cause that's way bigger than any bad hair day.”

David Smith, another senior Nursing student who previously worked in the pediatric intensive care unit at Albany Medical Center, shared his reasons for shaving his head.

“Going bald is my way of showing solidarity while also encouraging my friends and family to support this important cause,” Smith said. “I’ve had long hair for most of my time as a Nursing student and although this change will be drastic, it’s nothing compared to what families affected by pediatric cancer go through.”

To participate, please visit and make a donation or register to attend the event.

St. Baldrick’s is on a mission to help give kids a lifetime by funding the best childhood cancer research, wherever it takes place. Donations raised at events like this have made it possible for St. Baldrick’s to fund more than $340 million to date.

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