Never has the buzzing of electric razors warranted so much applause. Tuesday, March 24, marked Trinity Bar and Restaurant's first ever hosting of a St. Baldrick's fundraising event. Restaurant employees and event organizers worked incredibly hard in an effort to contribute to what has become a $50 million charity organization devoted to children with cancer.
The concept is simple. Volunteers offer up their locks in exchange for donations. Organized by Bob GaNun, Patricia GaNun, Tom Weissler, Our Lady of Victory's Father O'Farrell, members of New York City's Fire and Police Departments, Chris Emmell, Michael Hearne, Billy Bedell and Trinity Bar owner Mike McGuire, the event's success could only be expressed in two numbers: $25,000 and $58,000, that is, the amount of donations organizers were hoping to see and the amount of donations they raised even before the evening was through. A final count has yet to be announced.
This year Floral Park joined the festivities, recognizing one attendant in particular. This past July, 9-year-old Floral Park resident Aiden Binkley was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called rhabdomayosarcoma. After undergoing many rounds of chemotherapy, he, like many cancer patients, lost his hair. A group of Aiden's teammates appropriately named themselves the Bald Ballers and offered to shave their heads for their friend. Bald Ballers members Nicholas DelGiorno, Sean Doherty, Oliver Newton, Brendan Fogarty and Harry Fingleton welcomed Aiden as he made his grand entrance arriving in the front seat of a Floral Park fire truck.
Besides the Bald Ballers, many other young children volunteered their heads. They include Jacky Tuffy, 10, from Our Lady of Victory, Tommy Williams, 10, from Our Lady of Victory, Paul Cresci 13, from Floral Park Memorial, AJ Liberti, 12, from Garden City Middle School, Michael Meegan, 10, from Floral Park-Bellerose School, and Ricky Lescoe, 11, from St. Elizabeth Anne Seton. Jake Binkley, 6, the youngest shavee of the night, volunteered his head for his brother, Aiden. Mrs. Binkley expressed great pride in her son's brave love for his brother.
Over 57 shavees volunteered their scalps prior to the date. As the event rolled on, many walk-ins handed themselves over to the barber, not only raising more money, but lifting spirits. Trinity Owner Mike McGuire stated, "The atmosphere is great. It is turning out to be the largest St. Baldrick's event Floral Park has hosted. I'm watching people invent new ways to raise money as they share a pint and some dinner. I saw someone actually try to sell their cut hair."
Though technically shavees received a haircut in a bar, organizers made sure to find a few experienced shavers that wouldn't leave volunteers with lopsided haircuts, although some actually wanted an uneven look. Barbers Mike Bardunias, Health and Wellness Center owner, and Isak Darylou, Manny's Barber Shop barber, headed the shaving efforts. Teams approached the stools asking to be shaved at the same time. Noted father and son team, the McPhillips, drove from Dix Hills to participate. The largest teams were that of the Fire Department and Police Department. The ongoing contest between the two departments made for a lot of dares, asking friends and onlookers to spontaneously shave their head for the team in exchange for support money.
Shavee Chris Emmell commented, "This is just a fantastic cause. Doing something so small makes you feel so good inside. And though it's fun to compete, in the end, it's not about winning or losing. It's about helping the kids."