The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center will host its first official Rock the Bald event on Monday, March 11 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the cancer center’s Goodnight Auditorium, 4501 X St. in Sacramento. This head-shaving fundraiser is a collaboration between UC Davis Health, long-time partner Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Funds raised directly benefit childhood cancer research.
Marcio Malogolowkin, a UC Davis Health oncologist and chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, will shave his head to raise awareness about the immediate need for pediatric cancer research funding. Only 4 percent of all federal cancer research dollars are designated for pediatric studies. Malogolowkin’s team hopes to raise $25,000.
“I’ve been treating childhood cancer for 35 years,” Malogolowkin said. “I see how much pediatric cancer impacts the patient, their family and their community. We need help.”
Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance has hosted similar head-shaving events throughout the region since 2002, helping to raise nearly $2 million for UC Davis pediatric cancer research and services. Additionally, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has awarded grants to UC Davis researchers Paul Knoepfler and Noriko Satake for pediatric brain tumor research, funds raised from shaving events around the country.
Leslie Garcia, whose hair now reaches past her shoulders, will shave her head for the second time on March 11. The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center data research coordinator first shaved her head in 2012 when she was pregnant with her first child, and was inspired to do it again after becoming a mother and aunt.
“I want to show my daughters we can support others by giving a small piece of ourselves. And we can make a difference,” Garcia said. “I hope one day to participate with them and carry on this tradition.”
Members from the community and the Sacramento County Sherriff’s Department will brave the shave along with UC Davis Health faculty and staff. Representatives from Sacramento Republic FC, sponsored by UC Davis Health, will hand out team swag and players Cameron Iwasa and Ray Saari will sign autographs from 12 – 1 p.m. Additionally, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley will present Cancer Center leadership with a proclamation during opening remarks.
Childhood cancers make up only about 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed every year, yet they are the second-most common cause of death in children ages 1 to 14 (after accidents). While cancer in adults is typically attributed to lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet and exposure to cancer-causing agents, the cause of most pediatric cancers is unknown.
Help the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center reach its $50,000 fundraising goal, by visiting ucdavis.health/StBaldricks to shave, donate or volunteer.