Proud Supporter of St. Baldrick’s: David McCormack
March 28, 2017
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One afternoon nine years ago, instead of leaving St. Germaine School in Oak Lawn at the end of the day, third-grader David McCormack walked into the gym, ready to embark on a journey. While walking through that gym, young McCormack witnessed his peers setting up chairs in preparation to get their heads shaved for childhood cancer. Soon enough, he sat down in a chair of his own, beginning an annual tradition that he would continue in the years ahead.
However, prior to shaving his head, McCormack had to prepare himself.
“[At first], I was not really sure how I would look without hair, then when I saw that there were so many other people in my grade who were doing the right thing, it became easy for me,” McCormack said. “I remember the night before I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited to show everyone what I had done. Even though it has gotten harder as the years go on, I still love to do it.”
Immediately after shaving his head, McCormack felt different.
“[My first time] was really odd,” McCormack said. “I had never really had my hair cut short before, so I remember walking home, feeling it. It gets really cold because I have no hair, but it was interesting to see how it grew back.”
After having his head shaved for the first time, McCormack went to school, proud of what he had done. From that day forward, McCormack decided that he was going to participate in the St. Baldrick’s event every year, following in the footsteps of his peers at St. Germaine.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation raises money for childhood cancer research. However, the federal government’s contribution to childhood cancer only adds up to about 4 percent of what is actually needed. St. Baldrick’s helps fill those funding gaps.
Throughout elementary school, middle school and his first two years at Central, McCormack continued to shave his head at different schools. However, during his junior year, McCormack decided that it was time to bring St. Baldrick’s to Central.
Along with junior Natalie Lefkowitz, who was a sophomore at the time, McCormack approached Dean Roger Strausberger, who has helped organize St. Baldrick’s events at Naperville North along with Ballydoyle Pub and Mullens Pub.
“I work with [McCormack], the SAC and Lefkowitz [on the St. Baldrick’s event at Central],” Strausberger said. “[McCormack] really spearheaded it last year trying to get it going here, so we sat down and tried to figure out a good time and place to have it.”
As the event coordinator, Strausberger’s main role is to ensure that all plans are secure and everything will run smoothly. He is also the one who receives all materials from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Strausberger has been involved with this organization for the past 11 years.
“One of our friend’s son came down with leukemia,” Strausberger said. “We started a head-shaving event in Plainfield, and then it moved to the Ballydoyle [Pub] in Aurora. Over the past 10 years we [have] raised about $1.2 million.”
Lefkowitz also was motivated to start this event at Central through personal experiences.
“Cancer is very large in my family and a lot of my friends families as well,” Lefkowitz said. “I’ve lost a lot of close people in my life to this awful disease, and I’ve wanted to shave my head since eighth grade but my parents have always said no, so for me to volunteer my time is as much as I can do rather than volunteering my hair.”
This year, with the combined efforts of McCormack, Leftkowitz, Strausberger and Student Advisory Council (SAC), the event was held in the Auxiliary gym on March 8.
Last year, nine students shaved their heads, according to Strausberger. This year, 28 students and 12 teachers shaved their heads. In total, there were 40 bald heads on campus on March 9.
“It’s because of the people who come and help in events like this that it’s getting where it needs to be,” McCormack said. “[If this trend continues], the funding for it will grow so large and also people’s awareness for it will too. It gets us one step closer to finding a cure, and they’ll have all the money they need to do their research and cure childhood cancer.”
After working with McCormack for two years, Lefkowitz admits she is inspired by his positivity.
“He always puts others before himself, and he is thoughtful of everyone and their feelings in a situation,” Lefkowitz said. “He’s an over-amazing person and a great friend.”