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USMMA Midshipmen Join the Fight Against Childhood Cancers

KINGS POINT, N.Y., March 14, 2013 – On Thursday midshipmen from the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) along with faculty, staff, family and friends shaved their heads in an effort to raise money to fight childhood cancers during the 2013 St. Baldrick's Foundation fundraising events.  

“We are thrilled that so many people have supported our event,” said Midshipman Chelsea Tapper, a Brooklyn, N.Y. native who organized the event at USMMA. “I am overwhelmed by the response of the midshipmen and their family and friends.  We had around 200 shavees and, even though the money is still coming in, we are currently close to raising over $13,000! The original goal was 50 shavees and $1,500.”

While the USMMA Football Team and individual midshipmen have participated in St. Baldrick’s in the past, this is the first time this event has been offered to the entire regiment. Teams included Class of 2014 Shoppers, Class of 2013, Band Company, 1st Company Plebes, and USMMA Football. Captain Jay Kennedy, commandant of midshipmen stated, “We teach midshipmen that being part of a service academy means service to the nation, the community and the institution.  This event fits in exactly with what we espouse here.”

One of the highlights of the day was when a guest of honor, seven-year-old Mighty Mikey shaved Head Football Coach Mike Toop’s hair.  Mikey, who was adopted by USMMA football team four years ago continues to inspire his teammates, who patiently waited in-line to get their heads shaved.

“Today was what Kings Pointers are all about: Midshipmen Tapper did a tremendous job organizing and the regiment stepped up to support a great cause.  Mikey has had a tremendous affect on all of his teammates and anytime we have the opportunity to spend time with him, it’s inspiring.  It’s humbling to be around Mikey and his family knowing the daily hurdles placed in their path.  He’s an inspiration to all of us.”, said Toop.

The day was made a little sweeter through the efforts of the USMMA parents of Cookie Café, a non-profit group that provides weekly treats to midshipmen and service men and women who are far from home. "For this event we really wanted to do something special to support the cure for childhood cancer so we added pies and cakes to the home baked goodies made with lots of love for the midshipmen and alumni serving our country.  We hope it helped with the big turnout for the event," said Martha McCann

St. Baldrick’s Foundation was started in 2000 by a small group of businessmen who volunteered to shave their heads at a St. Patrick’s Day party in exchange for donations toward finding a cure for children with cancer.  That first event inspired hundreds of subsequent events usually scheduled around St. Patrick’s Day. Based on the success of this event, midshipmen are already making plans to shave their heads again next year.

Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2013