Commack residents willing to provide bald is beautiful raised more than $60,000 at Commack High School's third annual St. Baldrick's Day fundraiser on March 16.
More than 300 Commack students, teachers, staff members and community residents were willing to shave their heads to show their support for the St. Baldrick's foundation. The nonprofit is dedicated to raising money to provide funding for the most promising research in finding the cures for childhood cancer and help survivors live long and health lives.
A long line of participants and waiting shavees winded through the hallways of Commack High School at 3 p.m. waiting for the buzz of the shavers. Among them, Commack's teachers and staff members drew crowds of onlookers who cheered the shavees on.
Philip Layh, a special education teacher who splits time between Commack Middle School and High School, said he a bit nervous about participating in St. Baldrick's for the first time.
"It started with a bet between a couple of buddies," Layh said, laughing as he rubbed his bald head. "It wound up raising more than $200."
For others, like Commack High School science teacher Charlie Guercia, the event took on a more personal meaning.
"My brother passed away this year from cancer," Guercia said. "I was goign to do it anyway, but now it touches a little closer to home."
He was also encouraged to become a shavee by his wife, Guercia joked, who said she loves it when he saves his head.
The largest crowd of all gathered for one of Commack's few female shavees Jeannemarie Hildebrandt, a fourth-grader at Sawmill Intermediate School. As family and friends cheered her one, JeanneMarie let her nearly waist length hair be gathered into a ponytail and cut before being shaved short.
"A lot of my family has died from cancer, and I wanted to raise money for people who helped us," she said.
Stephen Hildebrandt, Jeannemarie's father, said his mother died of colon cancer and two close cousins both died of cancer. Still, he was caught by surprised when his daughter approached him about taking part in St. Baldrick's Day.
Top fund raiser at this year's event included the North Ridge Primary School team, raising $12,038, and Team Herb, who raised $$5,070.