When Tom Terwilliger, the coowner of the Red Jug Pub chain, first hosted his shaving fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Foundation seven years ago, only a handful of people participated and raised $2,500, he said.
This year, almost $13,000 out of a goal of $35,000 has been raised as of Thursday and 43 people have volunteered to be shaved Saturday.
“Everybody has taken a turn helping us out, but now it has a life of it’s own,” he said.
Terwilliger, and others, will have their heads or facial hair shaved starting 2 p.m. Saturday at the Red Jug Pub in Cortland to raise money for children’s cancer research.
Children with cancer will be honorary guests.
Terwilliger started the event to give back to the community, he said.
“You’ve got to give back to your community and this is a really good way to do it,” Terwilliger said.
Of the people participating, 10 will be from the Cortland Fire Department said firefighter Will Fox.
This will be the second year members from the fire department, who are participating as part of the Cortland Professional Firefighters Association and Friends team, are involved,Fox said.
“The guys in the department got behind it,” he said. “It’s a really good cause and we have gotten a really good response from the people who are interested in helping with it.”
Fox was first inspired to join Cortland’s event after participating in similar events in Ithaca in 2014 and 2015. It was there that he got to interact with friends who had children with cancer.
The children, he said, enjoyed seeing others have shaved heads like themselves.
“There they are in a situation where they’re not the only ones” without hair, Fox said.
The firefighters have raised more than $2,000 with a goal of $2,300.
“People look at firefighters as heroes, but I look at these children as my heroes,” Fox said.
Firefighter Matthew Edwards, who will participate for the first time Saturday, said the event will be a good way to give back to the community and bond with other firefighters.
“We all like to give each other a hard time so eight, shiny bald heads at the department will be interesting,” he said.
Edwards himself did not know about the organization until he learned about Paul Sandy, Cortland’s deputy police chief, shaving his mustache when he participated in the event two years ago — raising $4,500 in a year that brought in $30,000.
Fox hopes that participating in the event can help honor children who have died of cancer.
“With a little bit of effort, I can hopefully honor those who have passed away and then in some point the future, we’ll beat this disease,” Fox said.
Follow the progress
See how much the Red Jug Pub St. Baldrick’s Day event raises at www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/11070/2020