St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Center

Childhood Cancer is different than adult cancer in that it is not related to lifestyle factors. More children are lost to cancer in the U.S. than any other disease. In fact, more than many other childhood diseases combined. In the 1950s, almost all kids diagnosed with cancer did not survive. Because of research today, about 90% of kids with the most common type of cancer will live.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation is one of those organizations that has dedicated all of their fundraising efforts to help with research in childhood cancer. The foundation began in 2005 and over the course of 10 years held events where donors shave their heads in support of childhood cancer research and raise money. Their very first event goal was to shave 17 heads and raise $17,000. By the end of the event, they shaved 19 heads and raised $104,000. They have since gone to raise over $100 million all of which has been donated to furthering research for childhood cancer.

Gerald Simonelli, a former pastor, and current event planner, takes great pride in organizing fundraisers and charity events for a good cause. In the past, he has raised millions of dollars to improve several parishes and ministry organizations in his hometown. Most recently, he worked with St. Baldrick's and raised over $10,000 for pediatric cancer research. Gerald Simonelli cares deeply about today's youth and works hard to ensure that the world is a better place for future generations. After raising money for St. Baldrick's, he continues to follow pediatric cancer research closely in hopes for a cure. Just this month, there has been a breakthrough in cancer treatment, and now children suffering from cancer may be closer to receiving the cure they need.

Three Things to Consider When Traveling to Bolivia

Bolivia is a diverse country with interesting cultures, friendly but shy people, delicious food, and gorgeous landscapes. You can find yourself in cold wintery towns on the snowcapped mountains, or in a humid jungle town where you can’t escape the heat. No matter where you are in Bolivia, you will be in for a culture shock that will take time to get used to but at the same time is a unique and enjoyable experience. Here are a few tips for when traveling in Bolivia.

1. The shower situation in Bolivia is going to be a treat for westerners. Bolivia does have gas-heated showers, but you have to pay a bit more to stay in places with them. Others have electric showers that don't warm up and have no curtains. This is fine if you are in a warm part of the country, but if you plan on staying in a cold area, you might want to pay a bit more for more reliable showers.

2. You should avoid eating food from street markets. Most of the food has not been properly stored and has been sitting in the sun. Your body will not be used to this kind of food, and it will reject it. You will get sick at least once from the food in Bolivia simply because your body has not built up immunity to some of the food. Make sure that you stay hydrated all the time.

3. Bolivia has a funny love affair with whipped cream. The country loves the stuff. If you get a salad, it will be served with a heap of whipped cream on top of the fruit. Jell-O mixed with whipped cream is sold on the street and more often than not, there is only whipped cream, and the Jell-O was forgotten.

Gerald Simonelli has coordinated a few mission trips to Bolivia to provide aid to local orphanages, day care centers, and detention centers for homeless children and orphans.

Gerald Simonelli