Since its October 2017 opening, Waxhaw’s acclaimed Irish pub, Mary O’Neil’s, has been leading the way in authentically delicious cuisine, all the while, giving back to the community they feel so fortunate in which to be a part. In their most recent fundraiser, Owners Cairan Farrelly and Lee McShane partnered with the St.Baldrick’s Foundation to host a head-shaving event, raising funds and awareness for lifesaving childhood cancer research.
The non-profit St.Baldrick’s Foundation is based in Monrovia, California, outside Los Angeles, and is the largest private funder of childhood cancer research. Their mission is to foster a better outlook for kids with cancer to live longer, happier lives. Established in 2000, the Foundation now hosts over 1000 events each year, working with local volunteer organizers via their “Do What You Want Program” where volunteers orchestrate bake sales, galas, car washes, head-shavings, or any other idea their creativity may spark.
Mary O’Neil’s event was put in motion by local Eoin Fitzsimons, with collaboration from Waxhaw Police Officer Kevin Gasser, and honors Waxhaw-resident Diya Amin. Amin was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2009 at age 3. She went through three rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, donated by her older brother, who was a 100 percent match! Diya is now cancer-free, and living her life to the fullest – playing outside, going to the beach, playing soccer, guitar, Tae Kwon Do, and so much more!
According to Fitzsimons, the success of the event was made possible by the altruism of many, including the local band, Vinyl Tones, Suzanne from Red Bird Photography, and the Waxhaw Barber Shop who all lended their talents. With a packed house, plus customers spilling out on the sidewalk to wait for a coveted spot inside, the fundraiser easily surpassed its 5K goal with hours left to go! In total, Mary O’Neil’s ended up raising over 11K for the St.Baldrick’s Foundation, and had over 10 people volunteer to shave their heads!
For St.Baldrick’s Foundation’s Media and PR Coordinator Michele Franco, these nationwide events with volunteers like Fitzsimons and Mary O’Neill’s are what keep the non-profit running and cancer research funds coming.
“Everyone loves these events and they come back with amazing stories to share. They see the people shaving their heads and they’re overwhelmed by so much serenity and happiness, that they are compelled to participate and donate themselves,” effused Franco.
All those emotions were certainly present at Mary O’Neil’s on Sunday, and with such resounding success, the event is highly likely to become an annual occurrence! If you would like to find out more information about St.Baldrick’s Rock The Bald program or host your own event, please visit their webpage at https://www.stbaldricks.org.