Balder-Dash

April 6-12, 2006
Balder-Dash
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Chuck Wainwright
Most Holy Rosary Students, Parents Shave their Heads to Raise Money for Cancer Research

“At first all you think about is how weird it looks…and then it’s just cold,” said Most Holy Rosary teacher Tom Montague. Participants in the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser for childhood cancer research braved Central New York’s traditionally frosty March with bare heads after having them shaved Sunday, March 19 at Kitty Hoynes in Armory Square in Syracuse. Among the participating teams, Most Holy Rosary School was represented by a party more than 20 students strong. Joining the students were several fathers as well as Montague.

Nationwide, the St. Baldrick’s Day campaign raised over $5 million, doubling a record that was set last year. Locally, the event raised $176,000 after last year’s inaugural campaign raised $73,000. The tally for Most Holy Rosary recently revealed a sum of $8,200.

St. Baldrick’s Day, a fictional name designed to suggest St. Patrick’s Day, was born in the Long Island community of Northport, N.Y., in 1999. It was the brainchild of reinsurance executives John Bender, Enda McDonnell and Tim Kenny. After setting a goal of raising $17,000, the first St. Baldrick’s Day, which was held March 17, 2000, raised $104,000. Since its inception, St. Baldrick’s Day events have spread throughout the U.S. and beyond. A location search on www.StBaldricks.org shows events being held in Hong Kong; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Juneau, Ala.; Bermuda and Europe.

David Hoynes, the owner of Kitty Hoynes, brought the event to Syracuse last year and has held it in his bar on both occasions. A good friend of Hoynes, Chow Downey recruited the Most Holy Rosary contingent via his wife, Claire Downey, who works at the school in Syracuse. Montague joined up with the students. He is the school’s lone male teacher. Other participants included Connal and Mack McCurn along with their father, Neal McCurn; and Will and John Ringwood, who were joined by their father, David Ringwood. Downey’s son, Brendan, also participated. Also participating were Douglas Allen, Larry Messina, Andrew Felter, Alex Calkins, Partrick Sexton, Kevin Sexton, Ryan McGrath, Frank Mayosky, Jackson Haber, Alex Trunfio, Joey Kelley and Jack Lenkiewicz.

Montague said he has sported a beard “on and off” for the last few years. Two months ago, he began growing it out in earnest. “I just did it so it would be a little more dramatic,” the teacher said. Regarding his new look, Montague reflected by simply saying, “I think it makes my ears look bigger.” Part of the fun for him was having his girlfriend, Sarah Moss, shave his hair and beard. Moss is a licensed hairdresser. Chow Downey was the emcee at both last year’s event and this year’s. One student, Ryan Smith, had participated in the inaugural event with the Corcoran High School lacrosse team. Smith’s father is on the Cougars’ coaching staff. Although Corcoran participated again this year, Smith was part of the Most Holy Rosary team this time around. Although there is an air of light, friendly competition around the event, Downey stressed that making a difference for childhood cancer research is the real motivation.

“There’s some of that but it all comes down to raising the funds,” he said. In order to register or to donate to a team for next year’s event, go to www.StBaldricks.org.

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