Friday, March 16, 2012

A Good Cause

When I was a kid, warm weather usually meant that the end of the school year was drawing near. It also meant that a trip to Al Gallo’s barbershop on 22nd Avenue was also in the not-so distant future for the three Vagnoni brothers.

Much to our chagrin.

In the late ‘60s it was cool to have long hair, not the dreaded buzz cut that our parents forced upon our young innocent heads. Despite our impassioned pleas, we started each summer with a haircut reminiscent of Curly Howard.

Now, more than forty years later, I am no kid. While I no longer yearn for locks like Roger Daltrey, I never again sported the Al Gallo summer-do once I got to junior high.

Until yesterday.

On Wednesday I noticed on facebook that my sister-in-law Nancy was shaving heads at the Moose Lodge on St. Patrick’s Day to raise for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. This wonderful organization raises money for childhood cancer research.

This information from their website will give you an idea what they are all about:

On March 17, 2000, reinsurance executives John Bender, Tim Kenny and Enda McDonnell turned their industry’s St. Patrick’s Day into a head-shaving event to benefit kids with cancer. Their 20 “shavee” recruits planned to raise “$17,000 on the 17th.” Instead, they raised over $104,000!

The movement quickly grew into the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising program for childhood cancer research, and today the St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds more in childhood research grants than any organization, except the U.S. government.

Since 2000, more than 189,6060 volunteers…including over 17,200 women…have shaved in solidarity with children with cancer at events in dozens of countries and every U.S. state. Thanks to generous friends and family, these shavees have raised over $117 million for live-saving research, and each is a walking billboard for the cause!

At St. Baldrick’s events, people from all walks of life discover a power they didn’t know they had…the power to bring hope and a future to the bravest kids in the world, and countless say, “St. Baldrick’s is the best thing I’ve ever done to help someone.”

I told you it was a worthwhile cause.

Since my friend Corrina was coming over to cut my hair on Thursday, I decided to go for it. It figured it was the very least I could do to help those brave young kids that have to fight cancer.

It took less than 5 minutes and brought me back to my youth. See for yourself:

 Unannounced, my good friend Patty 4-Names posted on facebook that she was proud of me for shaving my head for St. Baldrick’s. I really wasn’t keen on drawing attention to my fuzzy head. Maybe she was trying to get back at me for “persuading” her to join me in my Lenten pizza abstention.

Seriously, I knew she was sincere and I did receive many positive comments in facebook. While I appreciated each and every one of them, even those that were humorous, the one that touched me the most was from a gentleman named Hillary. He simply said, “Nice going Paul. It’s not what’s on top, but what’s on the inside.”

Hillary is 87 years old. He gets it.

Ironically, the only resistance I received was from my dear Mom. When I first told her that I was considering doing it, she told me that she thought it was wrong. A bit confused, I asked her what she meant. After some hesitation, she finally said, “You’ll look stupid!”

Ha! That didn’t concern her 40 some years ago when she sent us to Al Gallo’s!

A day later, it seems Mom has gotten used to my hairless cranium. She even said that she wants to donate to this fine cause. That’s good, because I intend on making this annual thing.

Until next time…from the booth.

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