As a hairstylist ran clippers through Troy Schipf’s hair, the 9-year-old Babylon boy wore a smile across his face while his long blond mane fell to the floor.
“He doesn’t get many haircuts,” said his mother, Cathy Schipf, 45. “He likes it long. He likes his hair, so this really has an impact on him.”
Troy was one of the many kids and adults who shaved their heads Sunday at a fundraiser held at Lily Flanagan’s Pub in Babylon to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a not-for-profit that funds research into treatment for cancers that affect children. This was the second time the third grader had sacrificed his locks for the cause, even though he almost regretted the decision to go bald last year.
“He didn’t want to go to school the next day … people were looking at him like he had cancer,” said his father, Robert Schipf, 45, a colon cancer survivor, who explained to his son that this is how children who have cancer feel every day.
“He really learned a lesson in humility,” Schipf said. “We couldn’t be more proud of what he is doing, raising funds and raising awareness.”
Troy’s bald head quickly inspired his classmate, Michael Glynn, 9, of Babylon, to shave his head last year, too.
“Michael came home and wanted me to go online and find a place that day to get his head shaved,” said his mother, Denise Glynn, 44. “We drove all the way to Walt Whitman High School in Huntington and he got his head shaved there by a science teacher.”
This time around, Troy, Michael and their friends K.J. Graham, 9, and Georgie Glenday, 12, teamed up to brave the shave together and raised nearly $2,000 under the name “Babylon Kids to Cure Cancer.” Michael’s father, Jim, 47, also joined the boys in shedding his hair after losing a bet with his son.
Although youth soccer coach Nick Montalto, a Babylon board of education trustee, had come to the event just to support his players, he soon found himself sitting in the barber’s chair too after his wife, Tara, signed him up.
“I have no qualms about losing my hair. It will grow back someday,” said Montalto, 46, who wanted to set an example for his son and show solidarity to a family friend whose child was recently diagnosed with leukemia. “These kids need all the support they can get.”
Lily Flanagan’s owner Niall Crowe also shaved his head -- for the fifth straight year.
“It’s a great way to raise money for kids with cancer and bring the community together,” said Crowe, 51, of Oakdale.
Robert Keneally, a Babylon native and Lily Flanagan’s bartender who organized this year’s event, expects to raise $50,000 through donations, raffle ticket sales and a Chinese auction. He estimated that the stylists from The Studio in Babylon Village would shave close to 100 heads by the end of the day.
Included in that headcount was George Russell, 48, of Babylon, and his 6-year-old son, Sean. George Russell was inspired to shave his head for the cause after his daughter, Lauren, now 8, was hospitalized for diabetes shortly after her first birthday.
“There was a 7-year-old boy with cancer in the room next door to her, and all I remember thinking is, ‘Diabetes is bad, but it’s not cancer,’” said Russell. “He never went home. I don’t know how he is, I don’t know his name … but I thought, ‘I have to do something for these other kids who have cancer.’”
After watching his dad go bald every March for the past four years, Sean decided to bear his scalp, too. To date, he has raised more than $200 alone for St. Baldrick's.
“I was a little nervous [but now] I’m not scared,” he said. “I’m doing it for kids with cancer.”