UIS baseball team shaves heads in support of pediatric cancer research
Members of the University of Illinois Springfield men’s baseball team shaved their heads in support of pediatric cancer research following their game on April 20.
“They agreed to do it. I really didn’t have anybody who backed away and said ‘no, I don’t think I can do that’,” said Mike Zandler, UIS head baseball coach.
The team has been raising money through online donations to benefit the SIU School of Medicine’s Camp COCO and the Vs. Cancer Foundation.
“Anytime that you can give back to a foundation that’s helping fundraise for something, such as cancer that take so many lives from so many people, I feel like it goes without question that you should be a part of it,” said Derek Shomon, a UIS junior catcher.
For many on the team, cancer is a very personal topic. Almost everyone has had a family member touched by the disease and this is a way of honoring his or her memory.
“About 5 years ago my little cousin, he was 4 at the time, died of cancer,” said Nick Sanders, a junior second baseman. “It means a lot to me to get out here and do this in honor of him and all of the other little kids who are struggling with cancer.”
This isn’t the first time the baseball team has volunteered. The team has spent over 1,000 hours volunteering in the Springfield community this academic year.
“We’ve supported a lot of different charitable causes this year, Habitat for Humanity, the St. John’s Breadline, but this is an opportunity this is something tangible that these guys can look back on and show,” said Zandler.
The head shaving event not only brought the UIS baseball team closer together, but strengthened its connection with its opponent, Missouri S&T, who also joined in the fundraiser.
Zandler hopes to do it all over again next year and raise even more money.
“I think it’s a great thing for cancer research, I think it’s a great thing for both institutions, and our conference as well,” said Zandler.
You can still donate to the cause by logging onto www.stayclassy.org/fundraise/team?ftid=22508