Chris Lynch, the former Vertica CEO, founder of hack/reduce in Cambridge, and current Partner at Atlas Venture, has obviously accomplished much in his life. However, no project is closer to his heart than the fundraiser being held tomorrow (Thursday 7/25) at hack/reduce’s 275 3rd Street location.
In a very moving discussion, he explained to me the motivation behind starting the Boston Big Data for St. Baldrick’s head-shaving fundraiser, now its second year.
The urge to raise money for pediatric cancer research arose when Lynch witnessed a colleague's family deal with the tragedy caused by childhood cancer.
“A few year’s back at a previous company, a young man who had worked for me, unfortunately had a son [with cancer],” Lynch said. “I have five children of my own, and had never really thought about it; it became very personal in an instant”
“Cancer is the #1 killer of children,” Lynch said. “It is so unfair for a child who has just begun to start life and has done nothing wrong, to have to deal with all these things at a young age.”
Lynch found St. Baldrick’s, one of the top pediatric cancer research foundations outside of the U.S. government, and saw an opportunity to bring together the tech community for a noble cause.
Since 2000, the St. Baldrick's Foundation has raised about $149 million to fight pediatric cancer through head-shaving events. The money raised has provided research grants to doctors and scientists pursuing new cures for childhood cancer and has made clinical trials available to more and more children. St. Baldrick's has hosted more than 5,500 head-shaving events in twenty-eight countries and all fifty states.
Last year, the fundraiser surpassed its goal of $50,000, raising $55K. This year, the bar was set higher at $75,000. Lynch is getting closer to achieving this year’s goal, but needs a final push in the next couple of days to get there.
More than anything, Lynch wants to make more people aware of the need to fund pediatric research. He feels that is important to get members of the Boston technology community involved in the cause as research is making more breakthroughs every day.
As Lynch said, "The technology is within our grasp to address this."
So, whether you have some hair you’re not too fond of these hot summer days or just want to do a little good for the world on a Thursday afternoon, stop by the event in Cambridge and help this great cause.
There are many ways to help out, you can sign up to be a shavee, attend the event, or donate money to the cause. Donations can be made here.
For more info on attending the event, check out the event page here.
Dennis Keohane is a staff writer for VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.