Microspace Chief Engineer Chris Collins partnered with St. Baldrick’s for the 11th annual St. Baldrick’s charity event. The event took place at Cary Judo FirmFit Training Center on Saturday, March 18, 2023.
“We do a lot of planning with St. Baldricks to find children to honor with our bear,” said Collins. “My parents help organize and set up the event and run the registration, food, setup, and cleanup. Since we run a dojo (judo) tournament, as part of the event, we must set up brackets for weight divisions and bring in referees to run the matches. There are about four weeks of planning that goes into this event.”
Collins is dedicated to making the day special, a combination of his love of judo and his passion for supporting children with cancer.
“We did things a little differently from last year,” continued Collins. “We not only brought a St. Baldrick’s family to honor but also a founding member of Cary Judo as well. We brought Ron Burns’ widow and her family to honor him and his service to Judo. What made the event so memorable was that both honorees Ron and Dominick had the same last name (Burns) but were not related.”
Burns retired from Microspace in 2019 after over 30 years of service. He passed away from cancer last summer.
“Ron Burns was the one who got me into Judo and was one of the founding members of Cary Judo,” said Collins. “We honored him with our Judo Bear ‘Kemo Uke’ with an angel belt. The American Traditional Jujitsu Association (ATJA) awarded him the rank of Shodan 1st degree blackbelt posthumously. Also, we had more people attend our event this year. Some came as far as South Carolina.”
The tribute meant much to Burns’ family and was a way Collins could remember his dear friend and colleague. The entire day was a great success.
“We are excited about St. Baldrick’s for 2024 and have already started planning for next March,” he said.
Collins’ work and dedication have led to their selection for another big event. He is honored that his club has been asked to host the 2023 Summer ATJA National Tournament because he served in Judo and St. Baldrick’s.