Community rallies for cancer research |

Community rallies for cancer research

Joe Proudman
Joe Proudman / Tahoe Daily Tribune

The South Tahoe St. Baldrick’s event blew past the initial goal of raising $10,000 for childhood cancer research and was expected to pass $50,000 as of Friday night.

Cars overflowed the parking lot and spilled onto the street at the South Tahoe Ice Arena as fundraisers crammed into the lobby to shave their heads as part of money-raising efforts for cancer research.

The event was organized by Christy Smith, grandmother of South Lake Tahoe’s Bailey Johnson, who had several bouts with cancer before he was 5 years old.

“I’m totally blown away. I had no idea the community would be as supportive as they have been,” Smith said. “We have so far exceeded our goal, it’s unreal.”

As of Friday night before the event ended, Smith estimated more than 130 people had signed up to shave their heads. The St. Baldrick’s website said the event had raised $48,228 on Friday night. Smith’s daughter and Bailey’s mother, Kelly Johnson, said that once the event is over and walk-in donations are counted, they’ll have raised more than $50,000.

“It’s unbelievable how many people have come out,” Johnson said. “It’s far beyond what we’ve ever imagined.”

Jim Drennan, whose daughter was born with Neuroblastoma and survived, said: “I though we might get over $10 (thousand) but never this.”

Drennan was listed on the St. Baldrick’s site as of Friday night as raising $3,645. South Lake Tahoe Fire Department, where Drennan works, raised $11,867. His wife, Jen Drennan, works at CALSTAR 6, which raised $7,465 as a team.

Jeff Cates, who works with East Fork Fire and Rescue, was one of the many people to get a hair cut.

“We got together with Tahoe-Douglas (Fire Protection Unit). They wanted to see if we could get both fire departments in Douglas County involved,” Cates said.

“It’s going to be cold,” he added about the shave. “It’s just what I want, low maintenance.”

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