Matt Malatich thinks bald can be beautiful, particularly when the heads without hair are helping to cure children with cancer. Malatich is launching the first Princeton-area St. Baldrick’s Foundation head shaving fundraiser on Saturday, March 15 at the Ivy Inn, 248 Nassau Street.

Founded in 1999, the foundation (www.stbaldricks.org) has raised $38 million and shaved 46,000 heads. In 2007 18,000 shavees (including more than 2,000 women) gathered at 402 events and raised $12.8 million. This year already the foundation has raised $4.2 million for pediatric cancer research.

So far, Malatich has recruited 15 shavees, two of whom are women. "So far we have posted financial donations of $8,500," he says. "We expect to meet our goal of $12,000 with additional cash and check donations on the day of the event."

Malatich is far from alone in his quest. There are 464 such events scheduled across the nation.

"I was inspired to get involved with St. Baldrick’s after reading some of the personal experiences of kids and families who face cancer," says Malatich, a 1996 alumnus of Hamilton College who works as a commercial real estate broker at Hilton Realty. "A friend, Chapin Durling, participated last year as a shavee with a group of employees from Guy Carpenter, and he introduced me to the organization. When I received an E-mail announcing this year’s round of events I called Chapin to see if I could join his team, but he directed me to the web site to find an event in the Princeton area. Before I knew it, I had volunteered to organize the Princeton event and to recruit shavees."

Malatich’s recruits so far include his brother-in-law, Patrick Schmierer, who works for the federal government, and Pepper de Turo, owner-manager of Woodwinds. Call 609-751-1020 to volunteer, and you don’t have to lose all your locks to help. Other ways:

Donate: Don’t go bald, sponsor a friend who is willing to go bald.

Be a Barber: "We need licensed barbers to shave heads," says Malatich.

Volunteer: Help by registering participants or taking photos of the festivities.

Recruit Participants: Challenge someone you know to participate.

Share your story: Your child’s story can help people understand the impact of cancer and motivate them to raise more money for research.

Recruiting is not easy, says Malatich. "I think when men hit a certain age they are afraid that their hair might not grow back. Shaving one’s head to raise money seems like a drastic measure but it’s an effective way to raise money and awareness."

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