Eighth grader Fernando Ortiz, 14, of Guttenberg lost a young friend to cancer years ago. While participating at a cancer fundraiser last week at the Anna L. Klein School, he said, “At least we have bigger hearts than everyone. When I get older I want to donate a lot of money to cancer. Over $10,000.”
Ortiz and his fellow eighth grader Jack Burgos, 14, didn’t have thousands to donate to the St. Baldrick’s volunteer cancer charity on April 22. But they had hair.
At a school event that day, students and teachers offered to shave their heads and give a donation of $10 to cancer research.
Burgos’ little brother, Joshua Burgos, 12, also was among those participating.
“When I get older I want to donate a lot of money to cancer. Over $10,000.” – Eighth grader Fernando Ortiz
Jack said he watched a video about St. Baldrick’s in an assembly, and learned that cancer treatment made patients sick or bald. Seeing the video and knowing his friend was participating convinced him to get involved last-minute.
“Shaving your head doesn’t change you,” he said. “You’re still the same person.”
Another eighth grader, Francisco Travieso, 14, decided the same day to shave his head and donate. He said, “It’s for a good cause, and it’s also to better myself.”
Joshua Burgos added, “It’s for cancer, so it’s worth it.”
Superintendent Michelle Rosenberg, Constituent Services Aide Cindy Trejo, and Board of Education member Marisol Montanez, along with Councilman Wayne Zitt worked together on the event in hopes of raising $5,000 for St. Baldrick’s.
During the prior month, students, teachers, and police officers were also able to donate to the cause. Teachers paid $10 to take part in a dress-down day.
The school alone raised a total of $1,236 from the shaving event. Other events leading up to it brought the town’s total contribution to $4,000 for St. Baldric’s.
Samantha Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .