October 26, 2021

Cut for cancer

52 shave heads to raise $30,105 for cancer research

Photos by Shenandoah Briere/contributing photographer

John Suarez has his head shaved by Bailey Potter at the Red Jug Pub’s St. Baldrick’s event Saturday in honor of his niece, who had cancer as a child and other family members who have battled cancer.

With phone in hand recording a video and taking photos, Frances Shellings watched as her brother Jon Garrow’s curly hair fell to the floor. In less than 10 minutes his curly hair and beard were gone.

It was all to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The foundation raises money for child cancer research.

“My head feels light,” Garrow said. “I’m not used to it.”

The 6th annual event Saturday at the Red Jug Pub on Central Avenue in Cortland saw 52 people get their heads shaves and some men got their beards shaved, too. The event at the tavern raised $30,105.

Owner Tom Terwilliger said he does the event because everyone is affected by cancer in some way.

Garrow got his hair shaved for the first time at the event in memory of two childhood friends who recently died from cancer — one in June and the other just a few days ago, on March 10. He had been growing his curly hair out since he was a kid, only occasionally getting it trimmed. He also got his beard shaved.

Jon Garrow has his beard shaved after having his hair shaved for the first time by Bailey Potter at the Red Jug Pub’s St. Baldrick’s event Saturday.

His sister said he looks like a different man and that the family will have to come up with a new nickname for him after calling him “Chewbacca.”

Shellings said he reached his goal of raising $300.

Five Cortland Professional Firefighters Association members — Jeff Eldred, Jeremy Watkins, Matt Van Heusen, Will Fox and Pavel Androshchuk, — raised more than $2,200 and all got their heads shaved.

It was Fox’s fourth year doing it. He started in 2014 in Ithaca and only missed one year due to work commitments.

“I saw a friend of mine and his son was there and he was battling cancer,” he said about his first time participating. “He’s since passed away. I was very touched.”

He also had another friend whose daughter also died from cancer. “I’m emotionally attached to this cause,” he said.

Watkins got in on the event because of Fox. “The more people the better,” he said.

His two daughters — Jenna, 3, and McKenzie, 8 — were left speechless by their dad’s new haircut.

“I thought it was great,” said his wife, Anna Watkins. “I like it. It was getting really long. He was itching to cut it off. This was a great way to do it.”