Episodes of The Sport Clips Haircuts Hall of Fame Podcast - Haircuts with Heart featuring Kelly Mcloughlin from St. Baldrick's Foundation

Red Banner with HOF Episode

This podcast interview is with Kelly Mcloughlin, Volunteer Event Organizer with St. Baldrick's Foundation. This episode is the next in our series called "Haircuts with Heart". Throughout the series, we have conversations with members of a few of the causes and charities that Sport Clips supports. Kelly describes how she got involved with St. Baldrick's and the personal reason she is so passionate about helping raise funds for childhood cancer research. For more information, visit: www.sportclips.com/sbf

Chad Jordan and Kelly McGloughlin holding a microphone

Episode Air Date Guest Name Guest Title Topic(s)
January 31, 2019 Kelly Mcloughlin Volunteer Event Organizer (VEO) How to make a huge impact for Childhood Cancer Reserach locally

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Chad Jordan: All right. Hey everybody, this is Chad Jordan from Sport Clips Digital Marketing department, and this is another edition of our Sport Clips Hall of Fame Podcast. This is going to be an exciting one for us because we get to kick off our Haircuts with Heart series for 2019 in which we're going to talk about maybe some of the charitable organizations and events that Sport Clips has partnered with over the years, and I'm very excited because today we're going to speak about something that's near and dear to my heart and that's the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which Sport Clips is the first national partner that signed up in 2016, I believe, we started and committed to over the next three years raising one million dollars for childhood cancer research. I'm going to have my guest introduce herself today, and then we're going to have a fun conversation, and spoiler alert, her and I go way back. Unlike when sometimes I interview people and I've just met them, the guest and I have known each other for years. Without further ado, why don't you introduce yourself for us?

Kelly: Hi, my name's Kelly Mcloughlin, and yes you're right, we do go way back via soccer with our girls, and now it just makes us feel old because they're in high school.

Chad Jordan: Well they're in high school, yeah. The gray hair was already making me feel old, but now the high schoolers.

Kelly: It doesn't help any, yeah. And I'm excited to be here today and to talk to you about St. Baldrick's foundation because it is also near and dear to my heart to raise money for childhood cancer research, so I'm excited to be here.

Chad Jordan: So here's what I'd like to do today, because I want to touch on a couple things: why you're passionate about it, what your role is with St. Baldrick's, some stories, some kinda maybe behind the scenes stuff, how more people can get involved, what they can do at a local level, but first can you kind of give me the 50,000 foot view of what St. Baldrick's is and what they do on a daily and national basis?

Kelly: St. Baldrick's Foundation is an organization that really inspires me because their entire goal is to help kids with cancer, and there's not any- well 4% of national government funding for childhood cancer research is focused on children.

Chad Jordan: And the rest has to be raised privately.

Kelly: Yeah, the rest has to be raised privately, and so the big view of St. Baldrick's Foundation from the way I've learned about it is that they are really grassroots. Two guys dared each other on St. Patrick's Day many years ago - I think it was the year 2000, I want to say - and they just-

Chad Jordan: Hey, that's before my kids were born, so that is many years ago to me.

Kelly: And I think it may have a connection to 9/11, so it might be 2011, not 2000, but regardless. And we had friends who had a daughter who had –well they're your friends too– a daughter who had cancer, and the community just stood behind them and raised all kinds of money and helped them, and they were so overwhelmed they wanted to find a way to give back, and I had heard about St. Baldrick's Foundation from an uncle who's about to shave for the fourteenth year in a row.

Chad Jordan: Oh, so he was doing it before you were involved.

Kelly: Yeah, and he was the one that told me about it.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Kelly: And that was kind of how I got the connection. He's been doing it that many years in Iowa. He flew out to help us put on our first one, and it was just that family's way to give back. They wanted to do something that helped other kids with cancer.

Chad Jordan: So let's, the individual you're speaking of is Lexie Brown.

Kelly: Yes.

Chad Jordan: Someone who is very special to us, and we don't have Kleenex around so hopefully we don't start crying thinking about her, but she obviously, and the Brown family, inspired you. Can you tell us a little bit about that relationship and their support on your efforts the past few years?

Kelly: Yeah, in fact your daughter and my daughter were really good friends with Lexie because they met through soccer.

Chad Jordan: Soccer teammates, yep.

Kelly: And between fifth and sixth grade they found a bruise that they thought was from soccer; it was a tumor and she had cancer. And then they were just launched into that world, and then we all, as family and friends, got launched into that world, and so when I suggested to them St. Baldrick's Foundation, a head shaving event, as a way to give back, they were all in. We named our event here in Santa Maria "Bald For Lexie," and we're about to have our fifth shave, and she was with us for the first two shaves. In fact, at the very first "Bald for Lexie," you were our MC, and Lexie was shaving relative's hair and a lot of people's hair along with the professionals that day. Really my intention was to do it that first year, like oh let's do this, and then we'll be done.

Chad Jordan: Okay, it was a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity, and you were season it. It wasn't really-

Kelly: Right, and the day after I was like, "Wow." I had this light bulb moment that was like, "Wait. Kids still have cancer. I guess we have to do this again." And now we're on our fifth one.

Chad Jordan: And over those five years, do you have a rough number of how much money's been raised just in the local event, the "Bald for Lexie" brave the shave events?

Kelly: Yeah, so that first year we were clueless; we really didn't know what to do, so we thought, "We'll try to shave ten heads and raise ten thousand dollars," and we shaved 33 heads and we raised 18,000 dollars. We were just blown away.

Chad Jordan: High fiving, it was amazing.

Kelly: Yeah, and then the next year it went through the root and we had a hundred shavees and 87,000 dollars raised. Going into our fifth year, we're almost at half a million dollars. I think it's like 487,000 from the Santa Maria area.

Chad Jordan: Right, our local area right here.

Kelly: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: And what is your role with St. Baldrick's and the local events, because what I'm hoping is as people are listening to this or maybe watching it on YouTube they could be inspired to do something and contribute, whether it's shave their heads, which you have done before, and your daughter and your husband.

Kelly: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: I have not, but I've been there to MC and high five the shavees.

Kelly: You've also had to talk your daughter out of shaving.

Chad Jordan: Yes, I sure did. But what is your role exactly, and can you fill me in on that?

Kelly: Sure. One part of the mission of St. Baldrick's Foundation, part of their mission statement is volunteer-driven organization. It's all volunteers that put on the head shaving events. There's a few staff that are event coaches and support, but for the most part it relies solely on volunteers. So my role is called VEO, which stands for volunteer event organizer, so I'd be like a president of the club, I guess you could say. I've been trying to give someone else that role-

Chad Jordan: You're too good at it, so nobody wants to fill your shoes.

Kelly: No one will take it. So that's what that role is, and then there's people that sign up to be volunteers. People take all different kind of roles: barber, barber coordinator, and then also the shavees. That's where the bulk of the money gets raised.

Chad Jordan: So people sign up to be shavees, they're going to get their head shaved, and what comes along? They're not just shaving it just so they don't have to cut their hair for a couple months. Why are they doing this, and where are the funds going, and all of that kind of stuff?

Kelly: Yeah, so it's two-fold: they shave to raise money for childhood cancer research and awareness, and they also do it in solidarity, because the kids who lose their hair to chemo, they don't have a choice. So they're going bald by choice, and so I really love that aspect of the organization. I was nervous to shave, and on year four I did it because it was also Lexie's mom, Lisa, it was her first time to shave, too, and we just felt like they don't have a choice; we had a choice, so we chose to go bald. So you ask, it's kind of like a kid's jog-a-thon, right? You ask friends and family to sponsor you, and you raise money, and we've had, like the total individual fundraiser winner, Lisa wanted to win it last year, but I think she got beat out, right?

Chad Jordan: Yeah, I think by a kid.

Kelly: Yeah, by a kid, a cancer survivor.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, that's right.

Kelly: A cute little girl named Annie that raised like six, seven thousand dollars, and so people are amazing. And really, we just ask people to try to raise a hundred dollars.

Chad Jordan: Okay, so that's kind of their commitment?

Kelly: That's their commitment, yeah.

Chad Jordan: And how are they doing it? Are they knocking on doors? Is there a website that they use?

Kelly: Yeah, so most people get their donations through website, and they spread it through social media, so they have an individual page that's created when they register-

Chad Jordan: On St. Baldrick's website?

Kelly: Yeah, stbaldricks.org.

Chad Jordan: Okay, so they become a shavee, and they get signed up showing their probably head full of hair-

Kelly: Before picture.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, exactly.

Kelly: Yeah, but before and after picture.

Chad Jordan: And a little story about why they're doing it.

Kelly: Why they're doing it, yeah.

Chad Jordan: So over the years we've had other honored kids, right? Can you tell me who they are or a little bit of stories about them? I think Faith might have been one.

Kelly: Sure. Lexie was our ... actually, I was going to say Lexie was our only honored kid the first year, but she actually had met Faith in treatment, and Faith came to our first event. So Faith Debraum, another local girl who is a cancer survivor, has been with us. She's been an honored kid.

Chad Jordan: With the most amazing commercial on local television right now.

Kelly: Yes, it just blows you away.

Chad Jordan: Every time you're reaching for the Kleenex.

Kelly: Every time it comes on you're like, "oh." And then you say, "I know that girl."

Chad Jordan: Yes, exactly.

Kelly: Another, unfortunately there's plenty of honored kids, which is sad because every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. That's one of the statistics that we all know all too well.

Chad Jordan: And one of the important reasons why you're doing what you're doing, why there's such a need is because Faith is a great story - Lexie, we wish it could have been different. We wish research had been further along. We wish that the funds had been available earlier, years earlier, decades earlier for us to be at a place where she could have been treated and walked away.

Kelly: Right, because they're trying to raise money for research, for cures, but also for safer treatments because in many, many instances the kids die from the side effects of the drugs, which are adult-strength drugs, before they succumb to the cancer, and Lexie's was kind of a mixed thing because the side effects coupled with the cancer are why we lost her, and she had heart problems and lung problems. She had to use breathing and have medicine at all times. You remember that?

Chad Jordan: Yep.

Kelly: It was because of the side effects. It had damaged her heart. That's what the research is for: safer treatments that are kid strength, and cures.

Chad Jordan: So what kind of training ... if somebody wants to get to the level you're at, does St. Baldrick's just say, "All right, sign up, here you go," and turn you loose? Or is there a little bit of educational information, all that kind of stuff that they provide you to really get the ball rolling in your local area?

Kelly: Well that first year you basically do. You call them and say, "I'd like to start an event," and then they guide you every step of the way. They have great, they call them our coaches, and they have great assistants and resources for us. I feel so funny now that I know so much about the organization to think that I barely knew anything and put an event on. I think it's just people that care coming together, and then they give you the resources you need to make it happen.

Chad Jordan: At this point, do you partner with anyone that's a newbie, and do you kinda show them the ropes or anything like that? Have you ever done that?

Kelly: They have asked me to mentor, and there was a person who owned a Sport Clips, as a matter of fact, in a neighboring town that wanted to start one in their neighboring town last year, and so hopefully they're going to do that down the road, but I'm more than ... I've offered to help mentor people because we're really the only head shaving event. There was one at Cal Poly last year, but locally we're the only St. Baldrick's Foundation head raising event. The nearest one is probably down [inaudible 00:12:38] Valley I think was the closest one.

Chad Jordan: Which for those watching or listening across the country is a good two hours from us.

Kelly: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: So we try to get as many people around for this big event. The one coming up, this is getting recorded in January, end of January; early February this will be released, but the next event is March 10, the one here locally. So let's talk about the actual event. At this point, it's not just in a parish hall. It's almost like you gotta book an appointment to get in kind of must-see event. Describe what it's evolved into for me. Obviously I know, but can you help me paint a picture for everybody out there on what it could become?

Kelly: Yeah. That first time there was 33 people that shaved their heads, and we had people there; it was a nice group, but it didn't-

Chad Jordan: Yeah, there was plenty of seating, elbow room.

Kelly: We weren't bursting at the seams, yeah. And second year we literally were breaking fire code, I'm sure of it, because we just outgrew our event size by the second year. And so we have great- again, Santa Maria's a great community. I'm sure these kind of communities are all over the United States, but the local Elk's Lodge let us use their facility, and now we're at our third year there, and so partnerships have made us more successful.
But painting the picture of how an event works is it's a day of fun and celebration and raising money. And so at the event we have food, we have a silent auction prize raffle. We've done events in advance, so local businesses like a pizza place and a burger place have done, like, "Bald for Lexie" nights, and we've raised money in advance.

Chad Jordan: Donated proceeds, and it goes-

Kelly: Directly.

Chad Jordan: But it counts as part of that night.

Kelly: Our event night, yeah.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Kelly: It goes towards our overall goal, and our overall goal this year is 100,000 dollars.

Chad Jordan: Oh my gosh.

Kelly: Yeah. We haven't made 100,000 dollars at one single event yet, but because we've made 78 at an event and 87, we feel we're pretty close.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, I love it. And what about the news? Do you get the news camera stations out there?

Kelly: Yeah. The local TV.

Chad Jordan: Do you have to invite them or does the word just spread? What do you typically do?

Kelly: St. Baldrick's Foundation gives us press releases. They have a national media person that will work with you, and they give you templates. So I sent it out to the TV stations, and one of the local radio stations, he's one of our MC's along with you, so we have kind of an inside track there. Yeah, and I think the word spreads and people repeat. So this year we'll probably have a good 30 to 40 of our shaves be fifth year.

Chad Jordan: Oh my.

Kelly: They've been to every single one.

Chad Jordan: Every one. Boy, and the originals, there were about that many.

Kelly: Yeah, exactly.

Chad Jordan: So they just kept re-upping.

Kelly: Yeah, Lexie's brother, Lexie's grandpa. Special people, they care about kids with cancer, including that love Lexie too.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, and there is an affiliation with Sport Clips, the local Sport Clips here. Can you kind of describe that for me as well? This is not a plug for them; it's just they're a great resource if you're going to do the brave the shave events. Help me understand that.

Kelly: Yeah. The first year we had three barbers: my older daughter's a stylist so she was one, and two other gals. Then the next year was the national partnership-

Chad Jordan: Right, 2016 was when that started.

Kelly: Yeah, and so from that moment we've had Sport Clips stylists that come out and be our barbers, so we grew from three barbers the first year to ten, and last year I think we had 16 stations, and pretty much everyone's volunteering their time.

Chad Jordan: In fact, if the stage was bigger, we could probably have more stylists.

Kelly: Right, we'd have more, yeah.

Chad Jordan: Because it's now, I believe, at a point where all the stylists and all the Sport Clips in the surrounding counties hear about it. There's not an event maybe near them, so they want to come. And it's just so special to be a part of that.

Kelly: Yeah, and the owner of the local Sport Clips here, Jana, has been our barber coordinator. This will be her third year, and so she's just amazing. And they all know what they're doing, and they're just so willing to give of their time. Some people, outside of work they don't want to do stuff they do at work, but this is completely different because it's such a joy to watch someone have their head shaved. I know last year when I did it I didn't know what to expect, but it's a very empowering feeling that you're doing something for the greater good. So the stylist and Sport Clips, they did a clip-a-thon the last couple years, so on certain days they give a percentage of their proceeds for that day to the "Bald for Lexie" event, and they've set it up where people can give an extra tip and that goes, and last year they gave 800 dollars toward the event.

Chad Jordan: Wow. Can you walk me through your experience? You've mentioned maybe one or two times about how you got your head shaved, and for a woman, like you said it's empowering, yes, but it's also daunting. So can you walk me through? I know you were doing it in solidarity with Lisa Brown, Lexie's mom, but can you walk me through kind of the thought process, the range of emotions. Your hair's obviously grown back in the last year, but just what that was like?

Kelly: Yeah, interestingly enough the first year Lexie didn't want her mom or Maurie to do it. I think she thought they would regret it, and that's what she had told her mom. But the last couple years, each time the event came around, Lisa felt compelled to do it. There's this group within St. Baldrick's Foundation called the 46 Mommas. Have you ever heard of them?

Chad Jordan: No.

Kelly: They're not really a separate non-profit, but it's a group of cancer moms that annually have a head shaving event, and it's only moms of cancer kids that can shave their heads.

Chad Jordan: And do they go, is it a specific place, or do they do it locally at their-?

Kelly: They have a national event each year, but there's two local moms, Geneise Flick, whose son, I can't think of his name right now but he's one of our honored kids, Jackson!

Chad Jordan: And he'll be one of the honored kids for this year?

Kelly: I'm sure he'll be there this year. He's been there every year. He's a survivor. And then another mom, her son Sam Jeffers, so Sabrina Jeffers, they're both in the 46 Mommas organization, but they've both shaved at our events before. So instead of going to the national one, they've shaved at "Bald for Lexie," but they're very supportive of Lisa and all moms who either have a cancer survivor or have lost a child to cancer.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, and the connection for me is my brother died of leukemia when I was a kid, so I've always been sensitive to childhood cancer and the research involved, and then of course Lexie was on our soccer team when she was diagnosed, so kind of walking through the family with that. But to see them not retreat into a shell with all the grief that they're processing and having to adjust to the new normal of what they're life is, but to turn around and give back, so what the 46 Momma club is doing and what John and Lisa Brown and others is certainly inspiring. Do you have any, and I know I'm taking up too much time, but any kind of inspiring stories or outcomes that have happened through some of these events that you would like to share?

Kelly: I would like to share one from last year. Every year I've asked the St. Baldrick's Foundation if they might be able to find or have a research doctor come speak at our event, because that's really empowering because they're the people that receive the grants for this money that we're raising. But most of them are in LA or big cities, but last year we had a doctor volunteer to come up. So he arrives, and he didn't want to break confidentiality so he didn't say anything to me, and I hadn't told Lisa and John who the doctor was; I just said a research doctor from UCLA is coming. Well I go to introduce Dr. Cheng to Lisa and John - he was one of Lexie's doctors.

Chad Jordan: Oh wow. And they recognized that, but you hadn't known that?

Kelly: Right.

Chad Jordan: Oh wow.

Kelly: And they're like, "Yeah, we know him." And I was like, "What?" And he said, "Oh, I didn't want to break confidentiality." But that was why he volunteered to come up a three our drive from LA.

Chad Jordan: And I remember he was delayed. There was traffic issues and all that.

Kelly: Right, and he wanted to shave his head so bad that day because he had never been to a St. Baldrick's head shaving event, and he was so inspired. And he was like, "But my wife isn't here. I oughta check with my wife."

Chad Jordan: That's right. You gotta get the permission.

Kelly: Last year he said he wanted to come back. I haven't heard yet if he's going to come this year, but he had wanted to come back this year and shave. But we let him help shave someone's head last year, but that was such a cool story.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, I remember that. I loved that and that connection. I didn't know that part. Any other kids or stories or things centered around the event that you wanted to share about?

Kelly: Well we have happy and sad, right? Because one year we had Brian [Tishara 00:22:22] there, and the next year he was gone. He had passed away shortly before our event. I feel like we've had ... Noah Scott, a boy from Lawnpoke, which is a town about a half-hour from here who was at our event and the next year not. And so it's a harsh reality, and I think that's why when that first event was over in 2015, I was like, "I'm done. It was a good thing. We raised money. We're done." I couldn't walk away because kids are still diagnosed with cancer, and daily, every two minutes a parent, we're parents, is told, "Your kid has cancer." I just can't walk away from it now.

Chad Jordan: It's a calling at this point, and the way you're describing it, you're so emotionally invested in all of these lives, and then to see when there is loss and heartache, but I imagine, does that fuel you to kind of just keep going? The fact that not everybody gets cures. There's not answers for everybody, and that seems to be what's inspiring at this point.

Kelly: Right, and we celebrate the ones that are, like Faith and a little girl named Violet, who was there last year, and Annie, who's one year cancer-free, and we just need to be there for them.

Chad Jordan: We're not interviewing me so this isn't my story to tell, but at some of the events, getting to MC them, and I remember last year there was a girl, her grandpa or somebody was shaving, and she still had to have the mask over because she couldn't really breathe what everybody else was, but seeing her grandfather get up there, tears in his eyes, she's helping shave with the stylist, and just the joy on the family's face. Him, the grandfather, getting to participate in something that ultimately would benefit his granddaughter was precious.

Kelly: Something else that inspires me, Chad, is every year we have a handful or more of cancer survivors that choose to shave their heads, and many of them are kids like Annie did last year, and there's this young man named Jason Milenna who's a freshman now in high school, he's shaved, he was an honored kid at our first or second event, and he's shaved the last three years. A couple other kids who are cancer-free now or in remission who choose to shave and raise that money.

Chad Jordan: It's almost like a badge of honor at that point.

Kelly: Exactly!

Chad Jordan: They should be growing their hair back and loving it, and instead they're identifying with kind of their brothers and sisters who are still fighting. If you're listening or watching this and you've never done a brave the shave event, you gotta get to at least one. You'll become like Kelly probably and get hooked. But the amount of good that can happen in really one evening.

Kelly: Yeah, a couple hours.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, it's amazing.

Kelly: And even if someone doesn't ... they should just come and check it out and experience it. It's really a joyful celebration of life, and you don't have to shave your head. You can come, you can support by donating, you can buy the food, which we get donated so we're making money; everything we do that day and sell that day goes towards our goal, and it's just a really beautiful couple hours, isn't it?

Chad Jordan: It's fun. It is a party, and it's not morbid to say that. We are celebrating life and victory and survivors and those that have fought, and people like Lexie.

Kelly: Yeah, Lexie's motto was "fight like a girl," and we say it every time, and her parents know that she wouldn't be too happy if we stopped trying.

Chad Jordan: Well it's funny, I can't see anything that's purple without thinking of Lexie, and my daughter's high school team is purple.

Kelly: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Purple and gold, so of course that memory lives on. But so inspired by St. Baldrick's, Kelly, by you and what you're doing. I knew we had to get you on this podcast because we're going to start interviewing some more St. Baldrick's folks as the year progresses, but since you're local and a friend, I figured we could ease into the St. Baldrick's conversations, and we will have the CEO of St. Baldrick's on a future podcast, some honored kids - we're going to interview them and their families.

Kelly: That's so awesome you're going to meet some honored kids. You're definitely going to be inspired.

Chad Jordan: I'm pretty jazzed. Yeah, I'm pretty excited about that. But thank you so much for joining us.

Kelly: My pleasure.

Chad Jordan: And we will put pictures, links to St. Baldrick's, but I want pictures of some of the events that we've done, but also Sport Clips did a brave the shave at a national convention.

Kelly: I remember.

Chad Jordan: I think it was the most ever, in the state of Texas-

Kelly: You were going for a Guinness Record.

Chad Jordan: We were going for Guinness Record of most ever, but I think it was most ever indoors or most ever-

Kelly: Simultaneously.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, all at the same time, yeah. So I can't remember the number, but I'll put some pictures on the podcast page for that event as well because they are one of our favorites, and we're proud to support them and be partners with them. Thanks again.

Kelly: Thank you.

Chad Jordan: Thanks everybody.