St. Baldrick's returns to Rockville Centre for St. Patrick's Day Parade festivities


Dozens of daring individuals eager to shave their heads and cut off their ponytails to support childhood cancer research will join the annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation event on March 23, following the 2024 St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit charity established in 1999 by Rockville Centre resident John Bender and two friends, has evolved over 25 years into one of the world’s largest non-governmental funders of pediatric cancer research, having allocated more than $342 million in research grants to date.

“The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has made huge strides in research and increasing the survival rates and introducing new treatments,” Bender said in a statement, “But still too many children are lost to this horrible disease, so, St. Baldrick’s will continue to work hard every day until we have more humane cures for all childhood cancers.”

Presently, the foundation advocates for and finances numerous promising research grants at leading medical facilities and cancer treatment centers worldwide, including Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell, NYU Langone/Winthrop, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, Mt. Sinai, Columbia University Medical Center, Northwell Health, Montefiore, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Furthermore, the foundation supports various phases of pediatric oncology clinical trials to identify the most efficacious treatments with minimal long-term side effects for young patients.

Regrettably, many young children, including some in Rockville Centre, have waged battles against cancer, with far too many losing their lives. Hence, the annual event endeavors to ensure all children survive cancer, enhance treatments for prolonged and healthier lives, and ideally prevent families from enduring the anguish of losing a child to cancer.

The event, now a local tradition, typically raises between $300,000 to over $500,000 in a single day. Last year’s event generated over $368,000 to aid in finding cures and enhancing treatments for pediatric cancer.

This year’s event is sponsored by RJ Daniels, Riverstone Resources, and Rockville Risk Management Associates. Apart from head-shaving and ponytail-cutting, attendees can enjoy inspirational speeches, food trucks, raffles, a bake sale, merchandise, a cash bar, live music by Pete Buckley, Rory Barthel, and Pat the Horse, as well as various games and activities for children.

There is still time. St. Baldrick’s is still seeking more participants willing to shave their heads or donate ponytails. If you are interested in registering, visit to sign up. Walkins are also welcome. Ponytail donors are invited to serve double duty by also providing their hair to, which creates wigs for medical hair loss patients.

For those not keen on parting with their hair, St. Baldrick’s encourages participation and fundraising through alternative means. The annual St. Baldrick’s event will occur immediately following the 2024 Rockville Centre St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 23, at the St. Agnes Parish Center from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information on donations, grants, or to give in honor a loved one, visit