March 13, 2017

St. Baldrick’s Day Celebrations Kicks off with Sunday Shave-a-thon

BY JOY CRIST


St. Baldrick’s Day celebrated its 11th year on Hatteras Island at the Avon Fire Station on Sunday afternoon, March 12.

The annual event, which is affectionately referred to by a number of local area men as their “annual haircut,” raises awareness and money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation - a volunteer-driven charity that funds childhood cancer research grants.

The event’s local roots technically began 14 years ago, when Tina Chandler and her daughter, Maddy, attended the Norfolk-based event while her daughter was undergoing chemo, and it simply grew from there. For several years, some Avon locals would make the drive up to Norfolk every March to participate, until they decided to simply stage their own event closer to home.

The first St. Baldrick’s in Avon was held at the Avon Surf Shop, with Chloe Sapecki as the event’s lone barber. It eventually moved to the Avon Fire Station as more and more attendees signed up to have their heads shaved clean. This year, three volunteer barbers were on hand – Denise Gaskins of Hair by the Sea in Avon, and Chandler Butler and Tabby Rose of Salon Jobell in Buxton

This year’s event also had much more than just the pre-requisite razors and impromptu barber chairs. Live music was provided by Mike Fahey of Frisco and Enrique Babilonia, a junior at the Cape Hatteras Secondary School, bake sale items and pizza – courtesy of Nino’s Pizza - were available for sale, and there was an assortment of St. Baldrick’s items, from T-shirts to pins, on full display.

14 people had registered online before the event, and as usual, there were a number of walk-ins throughout the afternoon. Organizer Jenn Auguston estimated that a total of $1315 was raised online by 17 participants before the event, and that total inched closer to $2000 by the end of the Sunday event.

Every year seemingly has a “star” participant, whether it’s a very brave woman, a community leader, or a first-timer, and this year’s show stopper was Ellis Gaskins, who at 2-years-old, was also the youngest participant at St. Baldrick’s Day. Ellis helped his grandmother and volunteer barber, Denise Gaskins, shave his dad’s head before patiently getting his own haircut just a few minutes later.

“They really look alike now!” said one admirer as the two posed for photos.

In addition, several volunteers were honored at the event for their years of participation, including Jenn Auguston (7 years), Warren “Tater” Gaskins (8 years) and organizer Jenn Price (an impressive 11 years.) A team of additional volunteers also stepped up to the plate to make the event a success as usual, including Tina Chandler, Jessie Maestro, Liz Mayle, and Laura Waisman, CHSS students Maddie Chandler, Finni Harmon, and Teddy Harmon, and CHES students Evela Chandler, Jazira Christ and Hazel Harmon.

Unlike previous St. Baldrick’s Day events, folks who were unable to come out on Sunday afternoon will have another opportunity to celebrate and support the cause.

This Friday, March 17, on St. Patrick's Day, Turner’s High Moon Bar in Avon is hosting a special oyster roast from 6 to 8 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Avon St. Patrick’s Day Event, and people can still sponsor their favorite shavee or the event in general online as well – no haircut required.

For more information on shavees and to make a donation, visit the event’s St. Baldrick’s fundraising page at https://www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/447/2017.

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