‘Hair’ today, gone tomorrow
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Liam McCabe lost nearly all of his hair on Saturday, but he didn’t mind a bit.
McCabe, an aide to U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-C-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Staten Island), agreed to have his boss shave his head to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a children’s cancer charity.
McCabe not only agreed to undergo the head-shaving, he also convinced a co-worker and a buddy to do the same.
The charity fundraiser, which took place in the backyard behind Killarney Pub on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, turned the back yard into a barbershop for the afternoon. McCabe sat in a barber’s chair, ready for his big sacrifice. Grimm was ready, too. He had a twinkle in his eye.
“Liam, remember when I asked you to do that thing for me and you didn’t do it? Well, now I get my revenge!” Grimm, razor in hand, told McCabe. The congressman seemed to relish his chance at being a barber.
Halfway through the head shaving, with McCabe’s head half full of hair and half bald, another aide to Grimm yelled out, “That's enough, congressman. We have to go. You have another appointment you have to get to.” He was kidding of course. But for a split second, McCabe might have believed Grimm was going to leave him with the job only half done.
In the end, Grimm gave McCabe a scalping, leaving only a spiky Mohawk haircut on his aide’s head.
Team McCabe had raised $5,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
McCabe’s girlfriend, Christine Sisto, said she didn’t mind watching as her boyfriend’s hair wound up on the floor to be swept away by a broom. “It’s for charity,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle with a shrug.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which donates money to research into a cure for cancers that strike children, was founded in 1999 by three friends who were insurance company executives.
Co-founder Tim Kenny issued a challenge to colleagues John Bender and Enda McDonnell: To give back to the community in return for their good fortune in business. McDonnell’s thick head of hair gave Bender an idea: They would shave their heads in exchange for donations to raise funds for children with cancer, according to the group’s website.
The first St. Baldrick’s event took place at a St. Patrick’s Day party at Jim Brady’s pub in Manhattan in 2000. The founders surpassed their goal of shaving 17 heads and raising $17,000. At the event, 19 people were shaved and an impressive $104,000 was raised. The money was donated to the Children’s Oncology Group, a cancer research firm.
There is no real St. Baldrick, according to the blog Worth Your Attention, which described St. Baldrick’s as a “made-up name” for the purpose of charity. The name is derived from a combination of “bald” and “Patrick,” as in St. Patrick.
In 2002, the St. Baldrick’s group reached an important milestone. It hit the $1 million mark in fundraising. The foundation has since raised tens of millions of dollars.
After his “haircut” was complete, McCabe smiled and said he was honored to take part in a fundraiser for such an important group, even if it meant living without hair. “It’ll grow back,” he told the Eagle.