La Grange residents going boldly bald
Sadie Madden, 9, of La Grange enjoys a little friendly competition with La Grange firefighters Brian Cramer, Chris Conrad and Chuck Crudele, who will all shave their heads to fight children's cancer. | Courtesy of Kasey Madden
All the buzz
When: Head shaving begins at 7 p.m. March 14
Where: Palmer Place, 56 S. La Grange Road
Sponsors: Palmer Place and Floyd’s 99 Barber Shop
To donate: Visit: www.stbaldricks.org and search Sadie M., IAFF 2338’s Baldest & Bravest or Palmer Place
Updated: May 6, 2013 2:12AM
LA GRANGE — A friendly, but fiery red competition is shaping up between a group of firefighters and a 9-year-old Cossitt School student.
Sporting a mass of shoulder-length red curls, Sadie Madden initially surged ahead in seeking donations for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation raising money and awareness to fight childhood cancer.
Pledging to shave her curls, the young redhead collected $5,000 in her first few weeks of fundraising and rose as one of the foundation’s top 30 fundraisers.
“She’s gone viral,” said Sadie’s mom, Kasey, who reached out through her Facebook contacts.
“Every time she gets a donation, we make a sign and personalize it. I post it on the donor’s Facebook page, so all their friends see it,” Kasey Madden said. “We have donations from people we don’t even know, including a woman whose daughter died from cancer.”
When Sadie learned her key local competition was the firefighters’ team, she wanted to meet them, so her mother arranged a get-together.
“They were so kind. They invited us to go back and take pictures on the fire truck,” Kasey Madden said.
The Baldest & Bravest team, seven members of Illinois Association of Firefighters Local 2338, has posted pledges of $3,975 as of March 5, compared to Sadie’s total of $7,430.
A year ago, 11 firefighters raised more than $9,000.
“Anytime a girl, no matter what her age, shaves her head, she’ll earn more money, especially when she’s younger,” said team captain Brian Cramer.
Sadie said she wanted to shave her head in memory of her grandmother, who died four years ago from breast cancer.
“I realize someone shouldn’t have to die from a horrible disease,” Sadie said.
There may be some advantages to a close shave.
“I don’t like brushing my hair. It’s so curly, that tangles get into it easily,” she said.
Sadie also said she’s been so touched by donors’ responses.
“It’s so unbelievable. People are just so willing to give to a good cause,” Sadie said.