Folks shave for a cause

Haircuts raise awareness, funds for childhood cancer

YOUNGSTOWN — Ryan Shea of Hubbard had a full head of hair when he walked into Penguin City Brewing on Saturday. Matt Chavez of Girard had a beard long enough to touch his chest.

Shea was bald, and Chavez’s cheeks and chin were bare before they left.

No, alcohol doesn’t make one’s hair fall out, but a charitable heart and a desire to help children with cancer does.

Shea and Chavez were among about 20 people who got a close shave Saturday to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds research to find cures for childhood cancers.

Event organizer Jason Cottrill of Austintown has been involved with the event since 2014, when it was hosted by the former O’Donold’s Irish Pub & Grill in Austintown. This was his first St. Baldrick’s event since the COVID-19 pandemic, and Cottrill said the owners of Penguin City reached out to him about having the fundraiser at its East Federal Street location.

By the end of Saturday, they had raised about $14,000, and Cottrill said they will be getting an additional donation from the Cortland-Bazetta Optimist Club. The organization has been doing 50-50 raffles at its bingo nights at Candlelite Knolls, 2619 Bazetta Road NE, Bazetta, including today’s event with doors open at 3:30 p.m. for pull-tab games and bingo at 6 p.m.

“The turnout was much better than I expected for the first year here,” Cottrill said. “Next year will be much bigger.”

Cottrill knows first-hand the need for the research St. Baldrick’s funds. His niece was only 13 months old when she died from leukemia in 2000.

“They’re why I’m here,” Cottrill said as he introduced his brother, Worthy Cottrill III and his brother’s wife, Paula.

“If we can give some hope to another family by raising money for research, it’s good,” Paula Cottrill said.

Chavez stroked his bare cheeks and said “it’s cold” about not having a beard that came down to the middle of his chest, but it was worth it.

“Cancer in children is terrible,” Chavez said. “Anything we can do to get research going to help mitigate it, it’s a worthy cause.”

Shea is a lead sales representative for Penguin City, and the local brewery’s involvement is why he decided to take part. He doesn’t have any family or friends whose children had cancer, but his father is a cancer survivor.

“Anything related to that cause, it’s all good to me,” Shea said.

Alyse March of Canfield told Shea he had a nicely shaped head as she did the final trimming on his shaved cut. March had volunteered her services when she worked for a chain hair salon and was interested in staying involved now that she has her own business, Friendly Facez LLC.

“My business focuses on children, especially those with disabilities and sensory needs,” March said. “Anything that involves children, I’m there.”

Online donations to St. Baldrick’s can be added to the local fundraising effort at www.stbaldricks.org and searching “Youngstown.”


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