Whatever the score on St. Patrick’s Day, the Wolfpack baseball team will notch a victory in the fight against childhood cancer, working with the opposing team, Wake Forest.
As host for one of the nation’s first BaseBald games, NC State is poised to exceed its goal of raising $10,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation—known for holding head-shaving events in the Triangle to raise funds for children with cancer and cancer research.
“Every family has a story about cancer, too many stories, about how cancer has affected them,” says NC State head coach Elliott Avent, who worked with two NC State legends who battled cancer: Jim Valvano, head coach and athletic director during Avent’s first year on the job, and Kay Yow, longtime women’s basketball coach, whose office was right across the hall.
Abuzz with Anticipation
During the 2 p.m. game March 17, Wolfpack players will wear green and white jerseys bearing the names of cancer survivors, patients and loved ones. Families snapped up jersey sponsorships in an online auction.
More than 70 supporters will raise money by having their heads shaved at home plate following the game, including Avent and Wake Forest head coach Tom Walter, Wolfpack players and NC State students. Walter made headlines last year when he donated a kidney to one of his players.
“Everything came together perfectly to make this game possible,” Avent says. “We’re playing Wake Forest on St. Patrick’s Day, which has a tie-in with St. Baldrick’s, and I knew Tom and his team would be supportive.”
Chase Jones, a former UNC baseball player who’s organizing BaseBald events for St. Baldrick’s, says the organization supports North Carolina kids with cancer, as well as funding cancer research in the Triangle.
A childhood cancer survivor himself, Jones says the head shaving at the game sends a message of solidarity to kids who’ve lost their hair during treatment.
“It’s hard to be able to put into words what it means for someone to be able to commiserate on the simplest of levels,” he says. “The hope it instills is immeasurable.”
Tickets for the game are available at GoPack.com or at Doak Field on game day. Kids 17 and under are admitted free. Admission for adults is $7.
For more information about the BaseBald game, signing up for head shaving or sponsoring a participant, call 865-1421.