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Dozens turn out for St Baldrick’s shave-a-thon

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Hair raising: Lara Holdipp, ten, was all smiles as she had her head shaved during the St Barldrick’s shave-a-thon at The Docksider, yesterday, March 17, 2023 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Island volunteers who “braved the shave” raised more than $100,000 for a children’s cancer charity.

More than 30 residents sat in a barber’s chair at The Docksider, on Front Street to have their heads shaved as part of the global St Baldrick's Foundation fundraising event last night.

Cheyra Bell, the event organiser, said the Bermuda branch of the charity had set a target of $75,000 this year.

St Baldrick's at The Docksider. Pictured- Brennan Watkins (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

But as the shearing got under way by a tag team of hairdressers from Salon Pink, more than $99,000 had been raised – with donations continuing to pour in.

St Baldrick's at The Docksider (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ms Bell said: ““Things have been a bit quiet since Covid, but this year it looks like we’re bouncing back.

St Baldrick's at The Docksider. Pictured- Andy Wetmiller (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“We did raise $106,000 one year which is our biggest total, so it would be great if we could beat that.

St Baldrick's at The Docksider. Pictured- Tony Rietig (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“This is a very emotional night for us. We’ve had great support. It’s a time when people have the opportunity to show solidarity with children who have cancer. It pulls at your heart strings.”

St Baldrick's at The Docksider. Pictured- Linda Holdipp (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Tony Rietig, a catastrophe modeller with reinsurance firm Sirius Point, was the first to brave the barber’s chair.

St Baldrick's at The Docksider (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Mr Rietig’s long, lustrous locks were sheared in record time by friend Ian Nash.

St Baldrick's at The Docksider (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Stepping down from the stage, Mr Rietig, who has raised $60,000 for the charity in the last three years, said: “I think it’s a tremendous charity – they do a hell of a lot of good work to explore cures for cancer, specifically children’s cancer.

St Baldrick's at The Docksider. Pictured- Karen Wetmiller(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“My dad passed away from cancer so it’s a cause that is very close to my heart and it just gives me a little bit of an opportunity to give something back. It’s very, very special.”

Lara Holdipp, aged ten, was taking part in the event for the first time.

St Baldrick's shave-a-thon at The Docksider. Pictured- Megan Teixiera from Salon Pink, left, Dwayne Caines and Salon Pink owner Kidist “Pinky” Emery (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Lara was accompanied by her mother, Linda Holdipp, who is the principal of the Bermuda Institute.

St Baldrick's at The Docksider.(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

After their heads had been shaved, Mrs Holdipp said that her daughter had wanted to take part in the event since she was a small child – but her parents believed she was too young.

St Baldrick's at The Docksider. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ms Holdipp told The Royal Gazette: “This year it was my daughter who inspired me to shave.

“My daughter attended Somersfield Academy a few years ago and a young boy there named Brennan Watkins had leukaemia. So Lara wanted to shave then but my husband said no because she was so young.

Riki Teteina, the Somersfield Academy principal, participates in the 2023 St Baldrick's shave-a-thon at The Docksider, Hamilton, yesterday, March 17, 2023 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
St Baldrick's at The Docksider (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Fundraising: Karen Wetmiller with father Andy Wetmiller, participates in St Baldrick's shave-a-thon for charity at The Docksider, in Hamilton, yesterday, March 17, 2023 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“Last year – her first year at the Bermuda Institute - another young boy was diagnosed with cancer and then he sadly died. So this year Lara asked us ‘Mum, can we please shave?’ She has a heart for helping others.”

Asked how she felt being bald, Lara said: “I feel great. I’m so glad that I could finally get to do it.do it.”

Somersfield Academy fielded a team of seven participants tonight in honour of student Eoghan Homan, 16, who died from a rare paediatric cancer last month.

The charity has raised $7.5 million to fund research into child cancers since it launched its first shavathon in 2002.

The money will support child cancer research in the United States, and also fund campaign and educational efforts in Bermuda.

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Published March 18, 2023 at 7:52 am (Updated March 18, 2023 at 8:29 am)

Dozens turn out for St Baldrick’s shave-a-thon

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