Local restaurant holds fundraiser for cancer research

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

LAWRENCEVILLE -- For two years, Mathieu Cama grew his hair for Locks of Love.

On Saturday, Cama had two six-inch-long braids cut off before he had his head shaved for St. Baldrick's.

"I thought this was the perfect chance to support two charities," the Lawrenceville resident said.

Empire State Pizza and Dogs hosted a fundraiser Saturday for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, an organization that funds childhood cancer research grants. Todd and Donna Pinkerton, who own the restaurant on Five Forks-Trickum Road, said the event raised about $3,000.

The Pinkertons planned the event in honor of their friend Tom Baker, whose 9-year-old daughter, Chloe, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 5.

"Two-and-a-half years of treatment, and she's free and clear," Baker said.

Cama said he decided to participate in the St. Baldrick's fundraiser because he's lost several family members to cancer, including his mother, stepfather and grandparents.

Lawrenceville resident Michael Fletcher also raised money in exchange for getting his head shaved.

"I have a 13-year-old cousin named Hampton Riddle in Tifton who was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was 2," Fletcher said. "I did it in honor of him."

Each year, 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide. Cancer is the No. 1 disease killer of children in the U.S. and Canada, according to St. Baldrick's Web site.

To date, more than 135,000 volunteers have shaved their heads in solidarity with kids fighting cancer at more than 3,500 events in 50 states and 25 countries.

"We figured it's an important cause to (support)," Donna Pinkerton said.