March 19, 2012
55 brave islanders get their heads shaved
for a worthy cause…WITH SLIDE SHOW

By JOY CRIST



Fifty-five brave participants showed up at the Avon Fire Station to shave their heads for a worthy cause at Avon’s annual St. Baldrick’s Day event on Saturday, March 17.

Event organizer Jennifer Harmon says the turnout and the success of the event was fantastic, although not entirely unexpected. 

 “I feel like this year we knew exactly what to do, and things went very smoothly – it’s amazing that for such a small island we’re able to come together and raise a lot of money,” she said.

And raise a lot of money for children with cancer they did. 

The goal for this year’s St. Baldrick’s Day was $14,000. While final totals are still being calculated, so far, online and on-site donations total over $12,000, and Jennifer is fairly confident that they reached their goal, and hopefully then some. 

This was in no small part due to two big ticket participants, Mandy Haage Fuller and Rubie Shoemaker.

Rubie and Mandy were two of the incredibly brave seven ladies who volunteered to shave their heads. The other sister shavees were Eryn Thomas, Jenny Creech, Ruthie Marshall, Amber McDowell, and Bobbi Whitley.

Eight-year-old Rubie raised $2,000 for going under the razor, and Mandy, who had an original goal of $2,000, was able to generate $3,125 in online, check, and cash donations for shaving off her 20 inches of hair. 

Mandy’s husband, Jamie, and her two children, Gracie and Jack, are adjusting to the change well. 

“Gracie actually helped shave my head, and Jack rubbed my head this morning with a wondering look of ‘Where did mommy’s hair go?’ but everyone is fine with it now,” she says. “We’re so excited and I’m amazed at all the donations. I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m so happy with all the support, and I’m also happy the weather is so warm right now!” 

Local hairdressers Chloe Sapecki, Denise Gaskins, and Terry Lorenzo performed the shavings, and Jennifer estimates that about 90 percent of the participants were repeat attendees.

While final totals are being calculated, everyone agrees the event was, as usual, a wonderful and fun success, resulting in thousands of dollars of donations to the St. Baldrick’s Foundations, and a newly clean-shaven Hatteras Island population, just in time for spring.

St. Baldrick’s Day was started in 2000 to recognize and generate donations for children with cancer. The shaved heads serve as a reminder of children who have had to undergo chemotherapy and have lost all of their hair. Starting as an informal conversation between friends, the event quickly grew in its short lifespan and is now celebrated annually in 18 different countries.

Locally, the event started very much the same way. Jennifer Harmon, owner of Avon Surf Shop, first heard of St. Baldrick’s after a chat with her friends, Ray and Tina Chandler, and Warren “Tater” Gaskins III, who had made a trek to Norfolk to participate in the event, and who has participated locally every year since. 

Now, it has become an annual tradition of sorts for Hatteras Island locals to head to the Avon Fire Station on St. Baldrick’s Day to get their post-winter “haircut,” and shed their grizzled off-season persona for a clean shaven summer look, all while helping a good cause.

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