By Alicia Dziak

In late March, students and faculty at SES went Bald for Bucks. During this initiative, donations were solicited to raise money for Roswell Park, and in turn, kids went “bald” by getting their heads shaved in the SES gym.

One of those students was third grader Brendan Safford. Brendan’s mother, Laura, was diagnosed with cancer in December, and after hearing about Bald for Bucks, Brendan came home from school and told his mom he wanted to do it so he could raise money for her. Laura explained that the money wouldn’t go directly to her, but Brendan responded by saying, “the money goes to trying to cure cancer so that means it IS for you.”

Brendan then went to school and told his class about his mom and about how he was Goin Bald for Bucks.

Brendan’s teacher, Kim Pazzuti, recalls what happened. “Brendan asked me, ‘Mrs. Pazzuti would it be OK if I made an announcement to the class today?’ I told him that of course he could. He marched right up to the front of the class and told his peers he was going Bald for Bucks and he was doing it for his Mom. Previously, Brendan had told the class that his mom was sick and that she has cancer. Brendan is a fabulous young man and as he was up front I thought to myself, of course you would do this for your mom! He was an example for all.”

In March, Brendan’s whole family was able to watch him go Bald for Bucks.

According to Roswell Park’s Marketing Communications Coordinator Natasha Allard (who also happens to be from Springville), Brendan is a top 10 Bald for Bucks fundraiser for all of Buffalo, raising $4,315 for cancer research, which was half of the total raised by SES. “Most of the people on our top list are adults so this is extra amazing,” Allard said.

Laura credits her friends for being so helpful in getting the donations. “They pretty much told everyone they know,” she said, adding that all of their family also donated.

“I think that Bald for Bucks does a wonderful job of making kids feel like they are able to help people with cancer,” said Laura. “I was so proud when Brendan told us what he wanted to do and why, but I also was a little hesitant.  We try not to focus on the cancer at home.  It is always there in the back of our minds, but we want everyone’s lives to go on as normal as possible.”

Laura, a former employee in the SGI district who recently got a job in the Frontier district, says of course, she has good days and bad days, and she was happy to be able to go back to work for a while after her diagnosis.

She will be having surgery at the beginning of June and may have to go through more chemo.  “Hopefully by the end of the year I will be able to ring the Roswell bell cancer free!” she said.

Visit for info about where raised funds go and more.