5th Annual St. Baldrick’s Elk Grove

The 5th Annual St. Baldrick’s Brave the Shave Elk Grove Event will be held Thursday, March 22, 2018.  The event will be held at BJ’s Restaurant in Elk Grove once again, with the shaving taking place from 4:00pm until 8:00pm.  This year, Bell Brothers Heating and Air has partnered with Team LaurenStrong to host the event.  Here is the link to the event:


If you are not able to attend the event in person, you can donate directly to St. Baldrick’s through the link.

We will have participants shaving their heads to raise money for childhood cancer research.  This was an important cause of Lauren’s.  She helped to plan the first Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s event, but passed away two months before the event.  We’ve continued to hold the events to honor her wishes to increase awareness of childhood cancer and fund important research to find cures for children.

This year’s event is sure to be a fun time!  It’s always fun to watch the participants get shaved: children, men, and women!  In addition to the shaving, we have awesome silent auction items and raffle prizes.  We have a golf package for four, bagels for a year, Boreal lift tickets, River Cats tickets, computer repair and services, spa packages, restaurant gift certificates, and much more!  Stop by BJ’s that day to purchase raffle tickets or sign up for the silent auction items.

As in past years, when you eat at BJ’s Restaurant in Elk Grove on the 22nd, they will donate 20% of your meal and non-alcoholic beverage total to St. Baldricks.  You can save the attached flyer to your phone and show it to your server to have your meal portion donated.  Meals from 11:00am until 9:00pm that day are eligible for the donation.

Lauren’s brother, Mark, will be on Sacramento’s Channel 31 the morning of March 22nd to have his head shaved live for Good Day Sacramento.  We do not have a definitive time for the segment, but it will be some time between 6:00am and 9:00am.  This is his 5th year shaving to honor his sister and he can’t wait to get his hair cut (shaved).  He looks very distinctive with his beard and no hair, if I do say so myself.


We hope to see many of Lauren’s supporters at the event. I’ve included some links to new research that is being conducted for Ewings Sarcoma that is very promising. This is what St. Baldrick’s helps to make happen. Their funding allows the research to take place without restrictions that usually come with research grants.

Here’s to a successful Elk Grove Brave the Shave event!!!

5th Annual DVC Lacrosse Cancer Society Fundraiser Game

This Saturday, November 4, 2017, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA will honor Lauren with their 5th Annual American Cancer Society Fundraiser Benefit game.  This year the DVC Vikings will play Santa Clara University.  The game begins at 7:00 pm at Viking stadium.  Once again, Lauren’s mom will speak prior to the start of the game, rain or shine.  There will also be raffles of wonderful Lacrosse and American Cancer Society prizes throughout the game.

Lauren was so honored when they held their first cancer benefit game after she was re-diagnosed in 2013.  They had informed the Contra Costa Times of the game and Lauren’s story and a writer from the paper came to interview Lauren.  The story was on the front page of every newspaper in the Bay Area that the San Jose Mercury News owns.  From that point on, readership of Lauren’s blog exploded and she felt she had found her voice.  DVC Lacrosse provided Lauren with a forum to spread the word about childhood cancer awareness.  For that, we will forever be grateful to the DVC Lacrosse team.

Below is the link to the DVC Lacrosse website that tells of the benefit game.  Click on the “American Cancer Fundraiser Game” article for more information about Lauren and the origins of the benefit game.  We hope to see many of Lauren’s blog readers and friends at the game!




4th Annual St. Baldrick’s Event

Written by “Lauren’s Mom.”

David Kennedy is the kind of guy you would love to have as a neighbor.  As a matter of fact, we became neighbors in 1990 and we’ve been friends ever since.  Our children grew up together and we watched them become young adults.  We were part of “The Baby Sitting Co-Op in Laguna” that was really more of a family than a group of people who watched each other’s kids.

When my daughter, Lauren McCullough, was diagnosed with cancer in June 2011 right after graduating from Laguna Creek High School, it hit the co-op hard, including David.  David’s son, Connor, and Lauren were only six months apart in age.  Lauren fought her cancer hard for almost a year and was able to go to college and swim on the Diablo Valley College swim team that spring.  Lauren accomplished her goal of swimming an All American time and making it to the State Championship meet in Southern California.  Despite her incredible fight to beat cancer, her cancer returned in May 2013. 

One of her top bucket list items was to get married.  In three weeks, thanks to a lot of help from the babysit co-op, Lauren had the wedding of her dreams.  After a nine month battle, cancer took Lauren’s life, just after turning 21 years old.  This struck David incredibly hard.  He told me about how difficult it was at her Celebration of Life to see the video of Lauren from her wedding, thanking everyone for giving her the perfect wedding and, essentially, saying goodbye.  David had to hold it all in and keep it together to witness such a young person who lost her opportunity to live her life.  David wanted to help others and prevent the same fate from happening to other kids.

David volunteered to help the Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s Shave Event in 2016.  The event was created in 2014, just two months after Lauren’s passing.  David felt like he had to contribute so he decided to become one of the shavees.  There he was holding Lauren’s smiling photo while his hair was shaved to bring awareness to childhood cancer.

David is a shavee again for the 2017 St. Baldrick’s Elk Grove Brave the Shave event.  David feels everyone should give something back if you can.  Why is this extraordinary?  Because David was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer this past summer.

David wants to bring awareness to childhood cancer because he is going through cancer treatment right now.  He feels childhood cancer is tougher than adult cancer.  Children haven’t been given the opportunity to live before they are hit with such a devastating disease.  He feels that most people don’t know about childhood cancer and they don’t think about it.  But he feels strongly that it shouldn’t be happening to these kids.

David is striving to be the highest or one of the highest fund raisers for the Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s event.  While most people would want to raise funds to possibly help their own situation, David still wants to help others.  David represents what is wonderful about Elk Grove.

The Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s Brave the Shave event will be held at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse on Laguna Blvd. on Thursday, March 16th from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm.  There will be raffle prizes and wonderful volunteers being shaved in order to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.  If you stop by the event tables between 11:00 am and 9:00 pm, pick up a flyer and present it to your server at BJ’s.

People still come up to me asking if I’m “Lauren’s mom.” Lauren had an incredible impact on people by sharing her thoughts and not focusing on her own situation.  It is an honor to continue her mission of raising awareness of childhood cancer.  We will never know what Lauren could have accomplished in her life if it had not been stolen by cancer.  Our hope is to raise funding for childhood cancer research so other children can live full lives and contribute their gifts to the world.  We celebrate those who are cancer survivors and honor those whose cures had not been discovered yet.  Will you help us raise those much needed funds to find those cures?

We hope you see you on Thursday, March 16th at BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse. Together we can make an impact and save lives.

Forever, “Lauren’s mom.”



David and Lauren

BJs Flyer


BJs St Baldricks Flyer 2017Lauren Silver Medal



3rd Annual Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s Shave Event

The 3rd Annual Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s Shave Event will be held Wednesday, March 16th at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Elk Grove.  This event was established to continue Lauren’s mission to spread awareness of childhood cancer and raise funds for research.  (Did you know that of all the money the federal government spends on cancer research, only 4% is spent on pediatric cancer research?)

The shaving will be held from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  In addition, BJ’s Restaurant will donate 20% of your food and soft beverage sales on that day from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm.  Just bring in the attached flyer (below) when you come to enjoy a fabulous meal and maybe discuss what Lauren would have ordered and how much she loved food!  You can also pick up a donation flyer at the event site before entering the restaurant.  Even though the flyer shows a 15% donation, BJ’s informed us they will now donate 20%.  Let’s all show our support of their generosity and enjoy a great meal at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse that day!

There is a wonderful Team LaurenStrong web page that has details regarding this year’s event and also pictures from the previous two events.  It lists a few of the raffle prizes that will be available that day at the event site.  Stop by and purchase some raffle tickets between 11:00 am and 7:30 pm and you may be the lucky winner of one of the wonderful gifts.  We have $250 in Target Gift Cards, an In-Touch Massage Gift Certificate, Liquor (must be 21!), pottery from local artist Jeff Morse, and many other fabulous items.  In addition, we have a separate raffle for the Shavees.  One of our lucky Shavees will be the winner of two tickets to a Sacramento Republic FC game.  All Shavees who raise at least $50 will be entered to win.  http://www.teamlaurenstrong.com/

If you would like to continue Lauren’s mission to spread awareness of childhood cancer and raise much needed money for funding research, please consider joining Team LaurenStrong and being one of the Shavees. If you have long hair, you can simply cut your hair if you don’t want to shave it, and have the lengths donated to a charity that creates wigs for children with cancer.  http://www.stbaldricks.org/teams/mypage/104496/2016

For all of Lauren’s supporters who do not live near Elk Grove, you can be a “Virtual Shavee” and shave at home.  You can sign up for the event and raise money towards the cause, then shave at home and post your shave to Facebook or any other social media site.  Everyone who followed Lauren can help keep her message going!

This year, we are honoring Eden Finn, whom Lauren met while being treated for cancer the first time.  Eden was like the little sister Lauren never had.  Eden was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a month after Lauren’s initial diagnosis in 2011.  Eden was fortunate to find a bone marrow match (from Germany!) and the bone marrow transplant took place March 16, 2012.  That’s right.  Our Elk Grove Shave Event is Eden’s 4 year birthday of her bone marrow transplant!

Eden feels Lauren’s guidance around her constantly.  In fact, she went to an oncology camp in Montana last summer and enjoyed a fun horseback ride. She was awe-struck to find out that her horse’s name was “McCullough.”  Yes, Lauren is always with Eden looking after her.  Eden will graduate high school this May and is looking to go into the oncology field so she can help other children who have been diagnosed with cancer.

One of this year’s Shavees is Nick.  Lauren met Nick during her second treatment for cancer.  Nick had been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma and endured months of chemotherapy and extensive surgery on his leg.  Nick completed his treatment in the summer of 2014.  His hair grew back and he re-established a “normal” life.  Nick graduated high school last year.  Although Nick lost his hair to his cancer treatment, he is now voluntarily shaving his hair for the Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s Shave Event.  Nick is truly a hero!  Will you be a hero to other kids going through cancer treatment and sign up to be a Shavee?

Lauren’s brother, Mark, and dad, John, will be Shavees once again.  Please join them as they continue Lauren’s message and help children fighting cancer, and those not yet diagnosed.  We HAVE to find a cure for every child!

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

9237 Laguna Springs Drive (off Laguna Blvd.)

Elk Grove, CA 95758



Look for us on Good Day Sacramento (Channel 31) Monday morning, March 14th.  We will be doing a live shave of one of the teachers at Laguna Creek High School, who is a Shavee for the 8th time.  We expect to be on the air during the 8:00 am hour.


Lauren is Inducted into the Diablo Valley College Athletic Hall of Fame

Lauren CollageLauren HOF PlaqueLauren HOF Yearbook Page

Lauren was honored by her college, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA, by being inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame on February 18, 2016.  The MC of the event was Steve Ward, head coach of the Men’s Baseball Team.  Many of Lauren’s family, co-op family, and friends were in attendance to show support for Lauren.  Beth Ruyak, who gave Lauren an opportunity to get her message out during two of her Insight radio broadcasts at Capital Public Radio, was in attendance also.  She was at the Sochi Winter Olympics when Lauren’s Celebration of Life was held, so she felt compelled to be at the ceremony to show her support of Lauren.  You could feel the love in the room.

Steve introduced Lauren with the following speech:

“I am not sure that our HOF has any members as inspirational, courageous, gracious and humble as Lauren. She attended the very first DVC Hall of Fame induction in 2006 as an 8th grader with her dad, John, who was an All-American swimmer on the 1973 State Champion swim team.  Attending high school in Elk Grove, she earned varsity letters in four different sports. Then… just after she graduated she was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer, Ewing Sarcoma, in one of her quadriceps. After nine months of non-stop chemo she was told her cancer was in remission. She enrolled at DVC in the Fall of 2012 and in the Spring 2013 term joined the DVC swim team. She finished 2nd in the 50 Back and 3rd in the 100 Back at the Big 8 Conference Championships. Her times were good enough to qualify in three events at the State Championship Meet the following week in L.A. On the first day she swam the 50 Free, but complained after the race that her side hurt and that she could hardly breathe. She was in the emergency room the next day and had fluid on her lungs, which kept her out the remainder of the State meet. Soon after, Lauren learned her cancer had returned. She still attended the end of the season swimming awards dinner and found out her 50 Back time had earned All-American status.

In her last nine months she started a blog called, “Thenotdyinggirl” and her story was covered extensively by Sacramento area media. She gave anti-bullying rallies, got married, tirelessly spread the word about pediatric cancers, and was the honorary captain of the DVC Lacrosse team, who in November of 2013 held an American Cancer Benefit in her honor…In life, according to her father, she exhibited strength, humility, and a positive attitude right up until she died February 2, 2014 at the age of 21.

DVC now has the privilege to induct her for eternity into the DVC Athletic Hall of Fame…Lauren McCullough.”

Lauren’s mom then spoke about her achievements in high school swim, her positive outlook during her cancer treatment, and how her spot on the DVC swim team remaining open for her until she was able to join the team kept her motivated during her year of chemo and many hospitalizations.  The coaches of the swim team treated her like she was a competitor, and not an “honorary” member of the team.  That pushed Lauren to achieve so much during that season.  She came incredibly close to achieving her pre-cancer personal best swim times.  Like every girl, Lauren looked up to her dad.  Lauren became an All-American swimmer, just like dad; swam at the State Championship Swim Meet, just like dad; and was now in the DVC Athletic Hall of Fame, just like dad.

Lauren’s dad then spoke about how DVC has been so supportive of Lauren, both during her recurrence of cancer and after she has passed away.  He thanked the school for supporting her and continuing to keep her message of childhood cancer awareness out in the public.  The DVC Lacrosse team continues to hold American Cancer Society benefit games every November to raise money for cancer research and honor Lauren.  He spoke of how he entrusted his two most precious things in life, his two children, to the swim team and Coach Rick Millington, and thanked Coach Millington for being there for both Lauren and Mark.

This was an unforgettable event for all in attendance.  In addition to hearing Lauren’s story, it was inspirational to hear the stories of the other eight inductees into the DVC Athletic Hall of Fame.  She is in great company.

DVC Article: http://dvcvikings.com/General/2015-16/Spring16/Hall_of_Fame_2016

Deanne Speech John Speech Beth and Group

Reminder about the St. Baldrick’s Brave the Shave in Elk Grove!

The event is finally here!  On Wednesday, March 25th BJ’s Brewhouse will donate to our event 15% of your meal between 11:00am and 9:00pm if you bring in the BJ’s flyer.  Location is BJ’s Brewhouse on 9237 Laguna Springs Drive at Laguna Blvd in Elk Grove.  The Brave the Shave will also take place at BJ’s from 4:00pm until 7:30 pm.

If you would like to Brave the Shave you can sign up at the event.  If you aren’t quite that “brave” you can still come over to buy some raffle tickets or donate to one of the Shavees.  If you aren’t able to make it, you can still donate to one of the Shavees by going to StBaldricks.org and entering “Elk Grove, CA” in the search line.  If you already know who you would like to donate to, you can enter their name in the search line.

We have some wonderful prizes available for the raffle!  We have generous merchants who have supported our event by donating items and gift cards.  Stop by to see all the wonderful prizes that are available.

Please remember that we are holding this event in honor of Lauren.  She supported St. Baldrick’s because they provide funding for childhood cancer research.  We do this in her name, and all the other children who are currently fighting cancer, and all those who have not yet been diagnosed.

We truly appreciate all those who have continued to spread the word about childhood cancer.  Lauren would be honored to know how many people have taken up her cause.

Lauren Event Flyer 2015

BJ’s Meal Donation Flyer: St Baldricks bjs 2015

Second Annual St. Baldrick’s Shave Event in Elk Grove!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 will be the second annual St. Baldrick’s Shaving Event in Elk Grove.  Once again, we have Team LaurenStrong to support Lauren’s mission to raise the awareness of childhood cancer. St. Baldrick’s is an organization that Lauren supported due to their focus on pediatric cancer research.

The event will again be held at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse at 9327 Laguna Springs Drive, at Laguna Blvd.  Bring in a copy of the attached BJ’s flyer while you enjoy a delicious meal between 11:00 am and 9:00 pm and BJ’s will donate 15% of your meal to our St. Baldrick’s event.

The shaving will be from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm.  Come watch the fun, or better yet, join us in raising funds for childhood cancer research by participating as a shavee or donating to one of our existing shavees.  Many of Lauren’s friends and family will participate as shavees once again. There will also be raffles of items donated from local merchants.

Last year’s event raised just over $8,000.  Can we double that this year?  Join us for food, fun, and raffle prizes on Wednesday, March 25th!


Lauren Event Flyer 2015

St Baldricks bjs 2015