Residents of Floral Park turned out in droves on Saturday to honor the memory of 11-year-old Aiden Binkley, who died in 2010 from a rare form of cancer, by shaving their heads as part of a St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser.
The event had been held inside Trinity Restaurant & Bar in Floral Park for the past two years, but it was moved this to the rear parking lot to accommodate its growth.
“Floral Park is such a great community with great people,” said Lisa Binkley, Aiden’s mother. “From the first year it just snowballed and got bigger and bigger.”
More than 200 people came to have their hair cut for the cause, organizers said, and together they raised more than $140,000 for the foundation, which supports efforts to cure childhood cancer. Many of the participants on Saturday were children who had known Aiden from school or sports teams.
Tori Youngclaus, 10, who went to the same school as Aiden, felt she needed to get involved because of cancer tragedies in her own family.
“If my aunt can lose her hair from cancer, I can shave mine,” said Youngclaus. “I don’t care what people think ‘cause I don’t have any hair.”
Youngclaus was the only girl to shave her head at the fundraiser. As her family watched below the stage, Youngclaus’ beamed a bright smile as her long brown locks were shorn.
“She’s really wonderful, and I’m so very proud of her,” said Linda Youngclaus, Tori’s mother. “I knew this is what she wanted to do, she raised over $1,500 for the cause, and I was all for it, right behind her because it’s a good cause.”
The “top shavers” for both children and adults will be recognized with prizes. The top child’s name will be engraved on a trophy called “Aiden’s Cup,” which has a picture of Aiden on its front.
The top adult will receive “Nanny’s Famous Apple Pie,” made by Binkley’s grandmother.
There was tribute at the event in honor of Aiden.
“He was so exceptional I didn’t think God would take him, he was here to do something in his life,” said Lisa Binkley. “But maybe this is what he was put here for. It could be the next dollar that is donated to help find a cure, and I won’t stop until there is one.”
Photo: More than 200 people turn out at Trinity Restaurant & Bar in Floral Park for a St. Baldrick's Foundation event in memory of Aiden Binkley. (March 31, 2012)
Photo by: Nicole Bartoline