Annual St. Baldrick’s head shaving fundraiser returns to Rio Rancho

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Adrian Perez and his family know all too well what it’s like to have a child fighting cancer.

“We didn’t quite know the impact that cancer has on children and their families. And so being in the heart of it through the last year, we’re more aware now than ever that, you know, these families need support,” said Perez.

His grandson Adrian was diagnosed with leukemia last year, but after a bone marrow transplant, there’s some great news.

“Adrian has won his fight. So, we’re super excited,” Perez said.

After everything their family went through, it was so important to them to come to the annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation Head Shaving Fundraiser.

This year the foundation has a goal to raise $60,000 for childhood cancer research. Something that’s done in Albuquerque, at the University of New Mexico Hospital. 

Dr. Jessica M. Valdez works in the Pediatric Oncology Unit.

“Unfortunately, childhood cancer research is very underfunded. A lot of people consider it a rare disease, but I think for families that it affects it by no means is a rare disease,” she said.

50 years ago, the survival rate for childhood cancer was only 10% she said.

“In those 50 years, because of research, we’ve been able to move that bar from a 10% survival rate to about an 80% survival rate. It’s amazing,” she said.

Thanks to grants from St. Baldrick’s, the hospital can continue its life-saving research.

Over 40 people signed up to shave their heads Sunday, while others donated in other ways.

Shaving your head is symbolic, but to those battling cancer it can mean the world. 

For more information or to donate to St. Baldrick’s click here.