Chunks of hair fell from Alex Lessman’s shoulders as the 11-year-old fidgeted in a chair at Howard B. Mattlin Middle School in Plainview.
But Alex wasn’t alone. He recruited 23 of his friends to get their heads shaved Tuesday, raising $10,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation as part of the second-annual head-shaving event for the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District.
Besides going bald for a fight against childhood cancers, the boys put up posters and wore T-shirts and bracelets in memory of their friend and soccer teammate Lorenzo Fernandez, 12, of Seaford, who lost his battle with liver cancer on March 2.
“[We] are shaving our heads to let kids with cancer know they’re not alone,” said Alex, a sixth-grader at Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School.“...We’re trying to support and remember him. He’ll be forever in our hearts.”
The boys were among the nearly 200 students, teachers and locals who came together Tuesday. Organizer David Goldberg, a guidance counselor at the school, said he expected the event to raise almost $25,000.
“We are supporting childhood cancer research and awareness with pretty much our whole community,” said Goldberg, 34, of East Meadow. “We’re going to have a lot of baldies running around Plainview by tomorrow.”
Goldberg added that many of the students going bald did so in memory of two other students in the school district who lost their battles with cancer in 2012.
“I think we’ve all been affected by childhood cancer in some way. We’ve lost two students here who were very close to our hearts and every time we do an event I think of them,” said Goldberg, who then walked off and had his head shaved.