It was a great day for a parade on Saturday for the annual St. Baldrick’s Day event which kicked off from Floral Park Village Hall at 1:30 p.m. Parade goers traveled from village hall to Trinity Bar and Restaurant on Jericho Tpke. where they gathered to watch willing participants shave their heads in the fight against childhood cancer. The event is held in memory of Aiden Binkley, an 11-year-old Floral Park boy who passed away in December 2010 from Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer.
“All of the money raised at this event goes to pediatric cancer research,” said Bob Ganun, lead organizer of the event. “Since this event started in Floral Park in 2008, we have raised $1.2 million for the cause.”
Ganun said that the St. Baldrick’s event was originally brought to the village by Father John O’Farrell of Our Lady of Victory Parish in 2007. The following year, Father O’Farrell asked Ganun if he would head up the event and he gladly accepted.
“I got together with my wife Tricia and we moved the head-shaving event to Trinity’s, where it has become an annual event in the village for the past six years.”
Most of the head shaving participants are kids from the village and from nearby communities who come down to show support for childhood cancer.
Ganun and his sidekick and friend, Tommy Weissler, emceed the event, trying to get the crowd engaged while the kids get their heads shaved onstage.
“We try to have fun with it,” said Ganun. “We rag on each other a little but in a good way, try to keep everything lighthearted.”
As of 2013, The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has raised over $34,000,000 for childhood cancer research through events throughout the country. They’ve garnered over $127 million in grants, allowing the foundation to fund more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government.
“We want to support St. Baldrick’s in any capacity we can,” he added. “It’s such a great organization.”