Brave the Shave: Nevada County firefighters host fundraising effort for childhood cancer research |

Brave the Shave: Nevada County firefighters host fundraising effort for childhood cancer research


What: Brave the Shave: a fundraiser for childhood cancer research via the St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Sponsors: Nevada County Firefighters Local 3800

Hosts: ol’ Republic Brewery

When: noon to 5 p.m., Saturday

Where: ol’ Republic Brewery, 124 Argall Way, Nevada City

To donate and for more information:

There aren’t many 12 year old girls who would volunteer to shave their heads for a good cause, but Sara Sullivan of Nevada City has done it three years in a row, and this year will be her fourth.

In solidarity with children diagnosed with cancer and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Sara will again be taking part in the fourth annual “Brave the Shave” event, scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Organized by Nevada County Firefighters Local 3800 and spearheaded by Sara’s dad, Capt. Patrick Sullivan of Nevada County Consolidated Fire District Station 84, the event will once again be hosted by ol’ Republic Brewery in Nevada City.

The family friendly event will include fire trucks and other fire fighting apparatus, Lazy Dog Ice Cream and other activities. With 20 local participants already signed up for a shave (with a $50 minimum donation), organizers are hoping to beat their record of 52 shaves.

“To date, we’ve raised over $49,000 for St. Baldrick’s,” said Capt. Sullivan. “We’re hoping to hit $60,000 this year. The statistics are alarming — worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes. In the United States, one in five children diagnosed will not survive. Two out of every three who do survive will suffer long-term effects from treatment.”

Since 2005, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, based in Monrovia, Calif., has donated more than $253 million to childhood cancer research, making it the largest private funder — second only in funding to the U.S. government. While more adults than children get cancer, St. Baldrick’s reports that only 4% of federal funding is dedicated to childhood cancer research.

Cancer in adults is often diagnosed early, yet in nearly 80 percent of children, cancer has already spread to other parts of the body by the time it’s diagnosed. And when it comes to treatment, children are not simply “smaller adults” — their cancer must be treated differently.

“I’m shaving my head for the third time in four years,” said ‘ol Republic Brewery employee Heather Pitts. “This is a cause that’s close to my heart because it’s about the children. I have three kids of my own and a diagnosis would be devastating. Saturday will be a fun event, but it’s also about cancer awareness.”

Naturally, Capt. Sullivan stressed that attendees at Saturday’s event don’t have to shave their heads — the event is a social community gathering in the brewery’s parking lot. People of all ages are welcome to join in the festivities, eat good food, cheer on the “shavees” or give a donation.

“A lot of people know about cancer but don’t do much about it — they’re not taking action,” said Sara Sullivan. “Shaving along with donating makes more of an impact. I started doing this when I was 9. It stands out to people. This is how I give back.”

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at

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