The Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Club is going bald for St. Baldrick’s this weekend when it hosts its annual fundraiser to combat children’s cancer.
People will line up at the West Orange club on Saturday to get their heads shaved and raise funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for childhood cancers.
West Caldwell resident and Shillelagh Club President Kevin Kinney, who is organizing the event, said about 70 people have already signed up to get their hair buzzed. Participating salons and barber shops include JT’s Barbershop in Verona and David Chad Beauty Parlor and Leonard’s in Caldwell.
“Every year we try to include some more groups and try to stretch out a little more, so it gets a bigger and more widespread,” said Kinney, who also will sit in the barber’s seat.
This is the third year David Chad is participating, according to owner and Caldwell resident David Lattimer.
Lattimer said he got involved because of his longtime friend John Terzo, owner of JT’s, whose mother died of cancer. He has been collecting donations at his salon, and will be joined by two of his stylists to shave heads for five hours.
While the day has a fun, fair-like atmosphere, he said, it can be sad to see children with no hair who did not get their heads shaved that day.
“For me especially as a dad, it does get emotional when you see other kids suffering,” Lattimer said.
The event continues to draw people year after year from not only West Orange, but the Caldwells, Verona, Montclair and various other communities.
Shavee Danny Joy, who turns 14 in November, is participating with several of his soccer buddies. Joy has raised $430 so far, and hopes to reach the $500 mark before Saturday.
"I decided to get involved because I played against teams who had players who were fighting cancer and saw they had lost their hair because of it," said Danny, an eighth grader at Grover Cleveland Middle School in Caldwell. "I have long hair and so did one of the other kids. Thought that I could help someone like me."
The club has already raised about $37,500 this year—the goal is to reach $100,000. Since the club began the fundraiser in 2007, more than $400,000 has been raised for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Even with the downturn in the economy, Kinney said the fundraiser continues to generate similar numbers year after year.
“It is unbelievable how people—even the ones down on their luck and having a rough time—reach into their hearts and make it happen somehow,” said Kinney.
The St. Baldrick's fundraiser will start at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Shillelagh Club, 648 Prospect Ave., West Orange. Click here to donate or sign up.
—Caldwells Patch Local Editor Teresa Akersten contributed to this story.