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New Hope-Solebury surpasses $1 million raised for St. Baldrick’s


The New Hope-Solebury community’s annual fundraising effort for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation culminated last month with students, teachers, staff and local residents shaving their heads and donating hair in acts of support for children undergoing cancer treatment.

In 2021, despite the challenges of the pandemic hampering traditional events, New Hope-Solebury still had numerous children and adults ready to shave their heads, cut 8 inches off their hair to donate to The BeYOUtiful Foundation, and to champion the St. Baldrick’s effort. Thanks to their efforts and support from donors, the fundraiser surpassed a cumulative $1 million raised for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation since 2015.

Susan Heard, senior director of distinguished giving at St. Baldrick’s, calls New Hope-Solebury’s contributions “staggering” and “an enormous accomplishment — one that there are not enough thanks for.”

In 2015, New Hope-Solebury responded to the loss of two of its own to cancer, students Ethan Toohey and Robert Nagg, with the launch of a communitywide fundraising effort for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. St. Baldrick’s is a national nonprofit organization providing the resources to support fellowships in pediatric cancer research.

“We wanted to give our kids a platform … to show them you can come together and be part of the solution,” said Laurie Palau, who has directed New Hope-Solebury’s St. Baldrick’s fundraiser for the past seven years.

Guided by Palau and her dedicated volunteers, St. Baldrick’s has given everyone in the New Hope-Solebury community an important role to play. In prior years, the littlest Lions at the Lower Elementary School have shaved their heads and hosted fundraising walks, Upper Elementary students have hosted all-day basketball tournaments, and National Honors Society students joined in the events providing face-painting and arts and crafts.

“Part of the reason St. Baldrick’s has been so welcomed in our schools is because it ties in so well with the qualities the district is trying to instill in the students: acceptance, respect, solidarity, and empathy. It’s a great connection to what they learn on a daily basis at NHSSD,” said Liz Sheehan, whose daughter Clare recently shaved her head for St. Baldrick’s and who serves as president of the New Hope-Solebury School District’s board of school directors. For their part, community businesses provide corporate sponsorships, raffle baskets, silent auction items, and have donated to join a special vendor fair where they can sell their locally made goods.