Brave a Shave for St. Baldrick’s Foundation

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Volunteer shavees needed for Floral Park fundraiser March 31

One simple act of braving a shave and going bald can help save the lives of children stricken with pediatric cancer. On Saturday, March 31, from 2 to 9 p.m.,  hundreds of Long Islanders will be participating in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s annual fundraiser at Trinity Bar & Restaurant, 190 Jericho Turnpike, in Floral Park.

A nationwide volunteer-driven charity, St. Baldrick’s is committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. During annual shave-a-thons, participants young and old, male and female, sit side by side and face the clippers as part of the worldwide effort of shaving the way to conquer kids’ cancer.

Each year, approximately 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide. Cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the United States and Canada, according to St. Baldrick’s website.

For the past four years, Floral Park resident and four-time shavee Bob GaNun has been running the annual shave-a-thon, which has become an event that unites the entire local community. This year, the fundraiser is being moved to a Saturday to attract more participants.

“All are welcome to raise awareness and have fun to help people and show some solidarity,” GaNun explained.

This year, GaNun, who hasn’t had a haircut since October, will be joining his fellow volunteers to brave a shave. With 97 shavees already signed up, GaNun said this year there’s one special 10-year-old girl named Tori Y who has volunteered to shave her head for this great cause. “She embodies what this event is all about,” GaNun said.

GaNun, who was recruited to be in charge of the fundraiser by Rev. John O’Farrell, pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Floral Park, is hopeful that this year’s fundraising totals will exceed those of previous years. Last year, 241 shavees who live in the local Long Island area and Queens participated in the event and raised a total of $275,000.

Once again, the fundraiser will be held in honor of local resident Aiden Binkley who passed away last year at age 11, due to Rhabdomysosarcoma. Aiden’s parents Lisa and Michael Binkley of Bellerose are actively supporting the event, GaNun says. “They are solely dedicated to this cause. They don’t want to have another situation like they dealt with Aiden. They are putting in every effort to make this a tremendous success, which it is already,” GaNun added.

Of course, the success of any fundraiser relies heavily upon the generosity of the volunteers, GaNun said. He said he was most recently reminded of the power of one individual helping another after watching Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax with his young children. “The line is: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. I thought wow, if this line isn’t talking to me, I don’t know what is,” GaNun added.

To be a shavee or to donate, call Bob GaNun at 917-921-3639; or visit www.stbaldricks.org and sign up online. Walk-ins are welcome on the day of the event.

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