Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 | 4:57 p.m.
For the eighth consecutive year, Irish pubs in Las Vegas are raising funds for St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s work in conquering childhood cancer. The party Saturday already has 600 volunteers willing to have their heads shaved in the valiant fight.
McMullan’s Irish Pub near the Orleans, Ri Ra Irish Pub at Mandalay Bay, Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York and Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel will host hundreds of residents going bald.
In the past seven years at McMullan’s, more than $3.1 million has been raised for the campaign. I’ve been at every one of them as a guest MC and a sponsor, and it is a truly wonderful experience. Local TV news personalities Nate Tannenbaum, Gerald Ramalho and Elizabeth Watts will be joining me for live broadcasts.
Brian McMullan, whose pub has been headquarters for the event, told me: “We don’t have a huge, formal dinner or a silent auction as our fundraiser. We just have hundreds of people show up at our pub and sponsor their neighbors, friends and even strangers who are willing to have their heads shaved in solidarity with children who have lost their hair to cancer.”
This year’s event kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday at McMullan’s and wraps at 2 a.m. Sunday. During the 15-hour period, there will be celebrities, star chefs, bands, special performers and residents taking part in the effort. All of the dedicated shavees, barbers, volunteers and committee members who have participated for seven years will be knighted onstage as “Knights of the Bald Table.”
Special recognition will go to Dr. Jonathon Bernstein, a Las Vegas pediatric oncologist from the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, who received the seven St. Baldrick’s grants. He will be one of the volunteers to have his head shaved.
Brian explained: “The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, based in Monrovia, Calif., was founded 15 years ago by three people who wanted to do more to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than just sit around and drink Guinness. One of them offered children’s cancer research as a fundraising recipient, and the participants had a goal of raising $1,000 each.
“After raising more than 10 times that amount, the annual event mushroomed and is now held in pubs, firehouses, restaurants, meeting halls, high school gyms and other venues in 18 countries and all the U.S. states. More than 90,000 shaved heads attest to the volunteers’ fundraising efforts all over the world.
“We will beat this horrific disease.” Childhood cancers receive only 4 percent of federal funding for cancer research.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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