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Friday, August 1, 2014
The buzz around town
Raising money and losing hair for St. Baldrick’s
Maureen Lennon/Herald
The editor got a close shave from barber-in-training Chris Abt.

As I sat down in Chris’s chair, I ran my fingers through my hair one last time. Then he threw the bib around my shoulders and clasped it behind my neck. That’s when I heard the buzz.

Before Saturday, I had only once in my life had short hair, and even that was longer than my hair is now. I’ve always loved my hair: people complimented it all the time. And not to brag, but it was nice hair. Thick, lush and black, with only a few stray grays peppered throughout.

But I wasn’t nervous when I heard Chris turn on the buzzer. Without a word, he started to rake it through my hair. I watched as chunks fell onto my lap and the floor, where they were being quickly swept away.

In about five minutes, I went from luscious locks to hair so short that if I skip a day of shaving, I can’t tell the difference between my cheek and the top of my head. If I spin in my desk chair, I can feel the air on my scalp (a very odd sensation).

And I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I got my head shaved as part of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser at the Recreation Center last Saturday, just a few hours after the St. Patrick’s Parade finished making its way through the streets. I was one of many — men and women, young and old — who had their heads shaved in solidarity with kids battling cancer. And we raised money, too.

The Rockville Centre St. Baldrick’s event raised more than $138,000 — and counting — to help fund research into pediatric cancer. But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the $209 million that St. Baldrick’s has raised in the 15 years it has existed. Each year, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer throughout the world. The survival rate is only 80 percent. And many of those that do survive are afflicted with other conditions in their lives because of the very treatments that saved them.

For my part, I raised more than $750, and I only started three days before the shave. That says much more about the generosity of people than it does about my ability to annoy my friends and family members until they give me money. There were people who raised thousands of dollars.

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