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Locals Get "Buzzed" for a Good Cause

Volunteers shave their heads to benefit childhood cancer research at St. Baldrick's Foundation event.

The charitable St. Baldrick's event at  elicited a phenomenal response; an outstanding show of support from area residents eager to volunteer, donate and even shave off their locks for a very good cause.

A volunteer-driven charity, the St. Baldrick's Foundation funds more childhood cancer research grants than any other organization- save the US government- with events such as the one held at Cavanaugh's last Saturday.

More than 130 locals registered as shavees, and the event generated $16,000 from people who donated online. By 1 p.m., a whopping $25,000 was raised and counting.  

Blue Point residents Pat and Christine Wehrle spearheaded the fundraiser with the help of their neighbors and good friends, The Kanes and Drucken Millers.

The Wehrles were responsible for getting everyone on board, such as venue owner, Chris Cavanaugh, and several local businesses that generously donated raffle prizes, including  and the Sayville Running Company.

Linda Hess, owner of Headcutters in Bayport, and beauticians from the salon donated their time and expertise, buzzing one brave soul after another.

"This is something that Bayport- Blue Point and surrounding communities really respond to," said Pat Wehrle while sporting his freshly shaved buzz cut to match his 13-year-old son Patrick's new do.

The Wehrles were inspired by their neighbor's son, Jack Kane, a two-time childhood cancer survivor who received bone marrow through cancer research. Kane, who is currently a freshman at Keene State in New Hampshire studying graphic design, attended the event.

"Thankfully, everything worked. In June it will be 10 years since I've been sick," said Kane, "It's great. I've gone through it, and I want to help other people go through it any way I can."

Chris Cavanaugh not only hosted the event, but also got his head shaved, as did his 16-year-old twin boys.

"It's a great turnout.," he said. "The whole community came together."

The youngest participant, four-year-old Matthew Bachek, bravely got this head shaved alongside his grandfather, Chief of the , Paul Bachek.

Nassau County Police Bagpipers treated those in attendance to some uplifting music as participants, such as Walt Ramsey, 73, from Bayport went under the buzzer.

"I've had cancer and lost all my hair. I went to Ireland in 2007 bald, as I'm going to be today," said Ramsey, who added he is grateful to currently be cancer-free.

Event emcee Barry Diemer said he was touched by the outpouring of charity at the fundraiser.

"Every time I have a chance to see this community come together, I'm going to take it," Diemer said.  

He was instrumental in encouraging the enthusiastic crowd of onlookers to dig a bit deeper into their pockets, as he teased that he would send the volunteers home with half-shaved heads if someone didn't offer to donate a few more dollars.

Cheryll Adams was spotted cheering on her husband Larry as he got shaved.

"I volunteered him. He looks good with no hair. They all look better with no hair," said Adams. "He's a coach for Phantoms lacrosse. We thought it would be a good role model for the kids."

Bayport-Blue Point volunteers demonstrated the kind-hearted nature of the hamlets that Saturday, and the Wehrles weren't surprised by the generosity of the community.

"For us, this is what we're used to. I knew it would be a success because of the quality of the people. I wouldn't trade living here for anything," Wehrle said.  "Whenever anyone's in need, they step up to the plate. We're just the people who decided 'let's do it,' and the town took over after that."

Jean April 12, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Pat's my brother - I'm very proud of him and Christine for their efforts in their fundraising efforts for this amazing cause! I like the reverse mohawk look... Love, Jean

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