At an age where most kids are busy riding bikes and playing in the mud, Jon Weber was beginning an annual tradition that supported childhood cancer research. At just 6 years old, Weber signed up to shave his head in hopes of raising donations and awareness for pediatric cancer for St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Now, at 17 years old, Weber continues his tradition by shaving his head every year for the event.
“My dad worked with high schools. He participated in St. Baldrick’s, and I wanted to do it with him,” Weber said.
St. Baldrick’s invites participants to raise funds prior to being shaved bald at one of their local head-shaving events. To date, nearly a half million heads have been shaved, generating funds that allowed St. Baldrick’s to award more than $258 million in grants to over 29 countries for childhood cancer research. Weber, a junior at Mount Carmel High School, is preparing for his 11th St. Baldrick’s event on March 15.
“It’s exciting,” Weber said. “I like that they make it a whole day, especially at the schools. There are games that go on, and everyone gets to hear about the cause and see us all get our heads shaved.”
Each year, Weber sets an impressive fundraising goal and works hard to raise every dollar. With the strong support of his family and friends, Weber raised $1,305 in 2018 to help the more than 300,000 children who are diagnosed with cancer every year. In 2019, he increased his goal to $1,500.
“Quite a few of us from school are doing it this year,” Weber said. “It’s exciting working together. A lot of us are old enough now that we can donate ourselves. When I was younger, I didn’t really have a lot of people to ask for donations, so my parents helped me to find people. Some of my friends participate now, and others who don’t offer their verbal support. They all think it’s a cool thing that I do every year.”
While Weber originally began his involvement with St. Baldrick’s because of his father’s inspiration, he is now able to see how important it is to support the cause.
“I think it’s a really great cause to get behind because cancer sucks. Getting it as a child is even worse. Your body is less prepared to handle it, and it can be devastating, especially when it comes back,” Weber said. “I think it’s a great thing to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer because of how devastating it is and how common it is. Last year, I honored my neighbor who was fighting pediatric cancer. Luckily, it is now in remission. It’s crazy to think that something like this can be right next door, and I don’t think any child should have to live with that. Raising money to support research, to develop new treatments, and to provide better care for kids who need it is a great cause.”
Weber extends his gratitude to his outstanding personal support system and to the members of the community who help him reach his fundraising goals.
“Thank you to my dad, who was the one who got me to do it because he did it. Thank you to my mom, who supports me a lot in raising money every year. Thank you to everyone who donates to my St. Baldrick’s page, especially those who donate every year. I really appreciate it.”
Weber encourages those interested to take the leap and sign up for the next St. Baldrick’s event.
“It’s easy to start, and any amount you raise is a lot of help to them,” Weber said. “Almost all the money goes directly to research. Even if you only ask your close family and friends, it still makes a huge difference. Every dollar counts.”
To donate to Jon Weber’s St. Baldrick’s page or to learn more about how you can make a difference, please visit https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/jonweber2019