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St. Baldrick’s Foundation Human Line of Hope

By Jonathan Fox
September 4, 2012

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Eldred resident Lou Monteleone wants to make sure Sullivan County knows it. Monteleone’s awareness began in 2007 when he participated in a St. Baldrick’s (www.stbaldricks.org) signature head shaving event in Jeffersonville. “It changed my life,” Monteleone said, “and I became instantly involved.”

Since then, Monteleone has been so active with the foundation that he spends months organizing, soliciting funds and planning local events connected to the foundation and childhood cancer awareness.

“Everyone knows someone connected to this epidemic,” Monteleone said, “and it seems like it’s followed me since my first shaving.”

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a “volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives” as stated by the website, and Monteleone has brought that awareness to the Upper Delaware River Valley and beyond through his tireless efforts. “More dollars are spent on adult cancer research than childhood cancers,” he said, “and one of the many wonderful things about the organization is that is entirely volunteer based, with only 2% of the funds raised going to administration and staff.”

Presently, there are more than 30 states involved, with events of all sorts slated to occur across the country on September 9, including Monteleone’s “Human line of Hope” (www.facebook.com/humanlineofhope) the “Conga Against Cancer” and the public head shaving. The reason behind volunteers lining up to have their heads shaved is simple: “Because kids with cancer often lose their hair during treatment, ‘shavees’ for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation show their support by shaving their heads voluntarily and inspiring friends and family to donate money to support childhood cancer research.”

“Before the head shaving, the line of hope is comprised of local participants who want to be involved, but not necessarily be bald before the day is out,” Monteleone said. “These folks are encouraged to participate in any way that they are comfortable with. Everyone in the line wears letters on their chests with names of loved ones, or spelling out words like hope, strength, conquer and believe.”