STERLING, Ill., Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- One of pro football's oldest rivalries takes a new twist this year as New York linebacker Mark Herzlich and Washington wide receiver Pierre Garcon use their teams' bad blood for good. In a new initiative from Wahl Clipper and the St. Baldrick's Foundation titled the Wahl Head-to-Head Challenge, the two players, and division foes, will engage in a six-week competition to see who can raise the most money for childhood cancer research. The effort, which kicks off at the close of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, comes with a kicker—the winner gets to shave the other guy's head.
"It's safe to say that what Mark and Pierre are doing for St. Baldrick's and childhood cancer gives new meaning to dedicating yourself to the cause," said Steve Yde, director of marketing for Wahl Clipper. "As the leading manufacturer of hair clippers, we salute all those who shave their head to stand in solidarity with kids fighting cancer, especially when it's two pro athletes from rival teams putting their hair on the line for such an important and worthwhile cause as this one."
In the time it takes to play an average football game, 60 children will have been diagnosed with cancer worldwide. In the U.S. alone, childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children. The goal of this campaign—to continue to raise funds for the cause while sending a message that support is needed beyond this one dedicated month.
Fans and supporters can help the cause—and ensure their player is the one holding the clipper in the end—by going to headtoheadchallenge.com and clicking the donate button for either Mark Herzlich or Pierre Garcon. At the end of the challenge, the player with the most money raised will be provided a Wahl Lithium Ion Clipper and the right to shave the other player's head during a live event later this season.
Head-shaving for a good cause is St. Baldrick's signature fundraising event. Since 2005, St. Baldrick's has awarded more than $125 million to support lifesaving research, making the Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. This year alone, more than 57,000 volunteers, including professional athletes, students, business professionals, first responders, and beauty queens, have gone under the clippers at more than 1,300 St. Baldrick's signature head-shaving events hosted worldwide.
"We are honored to have Mark and Pierre on our St. Baldrick's team, helping to tackle kids' cancer and raise money for lifesaving research, so that children affected by cancer have a chance to live out their hopes and dreams," said Kathleen Ruddy, chief executive officer of the St. Baldrick's Foundation. "Turning their on-field rivalry into a friendly competition to help kids shows what big hearts these two men have. We hope that fans and supporters, no matter which football team you root for, will join Mark and Pierre on the St. Baldrick's team to help conquer childhood cancers."
While the Herzlich and Garcon matchup represents one of pro football's great rivalries, it's these players' characters that define what this campaign is all about.
Four years ago, linebacker Mark Herzlich was a perennial first-round draft pick out of Boston College. Then the news came that he had a rare and life-threatening form of bone cancer. Rather than take the conventional route to surgery, he chose to have a titanium rod inserted into his leg and undergo radiation treatment—a decision that allowed him to keep his dream of playing professional football alive. His hard work and dedication paid off when he made it to the pros as an undrafted free agent. Now, Herzlich, a supporter of many causes, is using his inspiring story and talents to compete for good.
"It's an honor to be partnering with Wahl and St. Baldrick's on such a fun campaign, and for a real worthwhile cause," said Herzlich. "I've faced Pierre on the field, but it's safe to say that neither one of us has been trained on how to defend a clipper to the head. I love my Mohawk, but if it can be used to raise awareness and money for lifesaving childhood cancer research, I'm more than willing to part ways with it."
Pierre Garcon is considered a standout on the field, but his charitable work off the field stands out, as well. In 2008, he started the Helping Hands Foundation, a cause that gives back to the community, particularly youth. When a 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, Garcon used his foundation to lead a relief effort, a cause he continues to support to this day. Garcon's soft spot for kids recently led him to help champion the Touchdown for Tara campaign, an effort to raise money for a local family whose daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer. A fierce competitor, Garcon is ready to take his fight against childhood cancer to a new level.
"A good rivalry seems to bring out the best in our fans, so I'm hoping that's the case when Mark and I go head to head where it really counts," said Garcon. "What Wahl and St. Baldrick's are doing is exciting and important, and while I live to compete, I'm looking forward to both of us raising a lot of money for childhood cancer research. That said, Mark better be ready because I'm not about to roll over and let him win."
About St. Baldrick's Foundation
The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. St. Baldrick's coordinates its signature head-shaving events worldwide where participants collect pledges to shave their heads in solidarity with kids with cancer, raising money to fund research. Since 2005, St. Baldrick's has awarded more than $125 million to support lifesaving research, making the Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. St. Baldrick's funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world and to younger professionals who will be the experts of tomorrow. Funds awarded also enable hundreds of local institutions to participate in national pediatric cancer clinical trials, and the new International Scholar grants train researchers to work in developing countries. For more information about the St. Baldrick's Foundation please call 1.888.899.BALD or visit www.StBaldricks.org.
Wahl Clipper Corporation, based in Sterling, Ill., is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing of products for the professional beauty and barber salon trade, consumer personal care and animal grooming. For more information, visit www.wahl.com.