Joey Danielsen Follows In Father’s (Hairless) Footsteps In Cancer Fundraising

Following his father’s example, township resident Joey Danielsen, 10, had his head shaved for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Joey Danielsen decided to spend part of his 10th birthday by continuing a tradition his father started before he was born.

He shaved his head for cancer research.

Danielsen, the son of state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17), participated in the annual fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. At the conclusion of the fundraising period, gatherings are held in which participants’ heads are shaved.

In Joey Danielsen’s case, as with his father in the past, this happened at the North Plainfield Fire Department headquarters.

Daniel Straub and Joey Danielsen, left to right, after their heads were shaved at the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraising event at North Plainfield Fire Department.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation raises money for research into childhood cancer. The elder Danielsen became a heavy fundraiser for the group – he estimates he’s raised about $100,000 in his 11 years of participation – long before the issue became personal.

Danielsen’s eldest daughter, Ava, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer that attacks the body’s immune system, after seeing a doctor for what was originally thought to be pneumonia, in August 2016.

That was followed over the next year-and-a-half by chemotherapy, other procedures and multiple stays in the hospital before the cancer was put into remission.

Joey Danielsen first participated in the event before his sister was diagnosed. He decided to do it again this year, a year in which his father deiced to take an “emotional break” from fundraising, in her honor.

He was joined in the effort by his friend, Daniel Straub.

“I do it for her (Ava) and the other kids,” Joey Danielsen said. “When she was in the hospital I saw other kids with cancer. I shaved my head before all that happened. I said I should do it again and again and again because I should represent kids who have cancer. It’s also pretty nice to be bald.”

Joey had raised more than $1,000 by the time he lost his hair. Overall, the North Plainfield Fire Department’s fundraisers collected more than $45,000 in donations.

This is the second year Daniel Straub has been a fundraiser. He said he wanted to do it because “it feels like the right thing to do.”

“Every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer,” the elder Danielsen said. “You’d think that would be one of the worst things a parent could hear. Unfortunately, it’s not; the worse thing than that is that your child has cancer again.”

“In the dark room of cancer, there’s very few shining lights, and St. Baldrick’s is always there as a shining light.”


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