Sunday’s Westie Day of Hope to help kids with cancer
Sunday’s Westie Day of Hope to help kids with cancer
Posted on 04/30/2015
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WEST HAVEN, April 28, 2015 — The Westie Day of Hope is back for a second year in a row, bringing West Haven another head-shaving shindig with promises of delicious food, fun games and buzzcuts all for a good cause.

The festivities are set for Sunday, May 3, in the West Haven High School courtyard from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the goal of fundraising for Camp Rising Sun, a summer camp in Connecticut for kids who have had or are battling cancer. In the last three years, the West Haven Public School community has raised almost $85,000 to help fight childhood cancer and enable kids to continue attending Camp Rising Sun free of charge.

Admission to Sunday’s event is free. But you can volunteer to go bald for a minimum of a $25 donation, or cheer on others who’ve agreed to lose their locks. Peruse the community tag sale, grab some lunch, buy some Westie gear, or check out game and activity booths sponsored by WHHS student clubs and organizations and local groups. The majority of proceeds go to Camp Rising Sun, with some donations supporting a student scholarship honoring former West Haven Board of Education employee Donna D’Amico, who passed away last year from cancer.  Student clubs will divide their donations among Camp Rising Sun and other local charity organizations.

Last year’s Westie Day of Hope collected approximately $14,000 for Camp Rising Sun, which allowed the event to sponsor a cabin for a group of campers. Organizers hope to surpass that total this year.

“Sunday’s gathering is all about uniting as a community to help make summer a little brighter for youngsters who’ve already faced monumental challenges in life and could use a break to simply be kids,” says Carrigan Intermediate School Assistant Principal Rich Weber, co-founder of Westie Day of Hope with WHHS science teacher Kevin Dickson.

Weber adds, “I have volunteered my time at CRS for the past 10 years, and it continues to be a huge, beautiful part of my life.  Playing a small part in giving kids fighting cancer memories that last a lifetime is a feeling too good not to share.”

The idea for the Westie Day of Hope expanded off of previous individual school campaigns that had benefitted the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Camp Rising Sun. Carrigan and WHHS partnered in 2012 to raise money for both organizations through a head-shaving rally, showing support for cancer patients who often lose their hair from chemotherapy treatment. More than $25,000 was raised for St. Baldrick's and an additional $3,000 was sent to Camp Rising Sun.

In 2013, Carrigan, WHHS and Bailey Middle School raised more than $30,000 for St. Baldrick's and $4,000 for Camp Rising Sun.

Dickson and Weber then opted to pursue a larger event to include all schools and to make an even larger impact on childhood cancer. They anticipate the Westie Day of Hope remaining an annual event.

WHHS student clubs, as well as local organizations like Girl Scout troops, will again sell lunch, dessert, spirit wear and other items and offer games and activities as fundraisers. Barbers and hair stylists from West Haven and New Haven will be volunteering their time to shave heads. New this year is a Touch-A-Truck fire truck activity and the community tag sale.

While located in Colebrook, Connecticut, Camp Rising Sun counts numerous Westies as past and present campers, says Dickson.

“Camp Rising Sun gives an opportunity for these little heroes to spend a week at camp, participating in all kinds of activities and celebrations with friends from across the state and the country,” Dickson added. “It’s an honor to be able to help such a worthwhile organization and to make a difference in the lives of these kids.”