On Sunday after the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk, a small crowd marched from the church to the parish center across the street to commemorate St. Baldrick’s by shaving or watching others shave their heads to raise money for children’s cancer research.
Among the brave ones was Simone Monahan, who started the tradition three years ago, and was the only one that first year to work up the courage to trade her long curly locks for a bald head.
Looking around on Sunday she couldn’t believe the size of the crowd. “This is amazing,” she said, smiling broadly. Her husband, Richard Monahan, was also bald-headed, having shaved his hair prior to the occasion — his first haircut since last St. Baldrick’s Day.
Clippers were wielded by local hairdressers and the Rev. Mike Rieder, the church’s pastor. This year there were 36 participants, including 13 children under the age of 15. The youngest was Trevor Meehan, a nursery-school student. A crew of Montauk Fire Department volunteers returned on Sunday to shave their heads for the second year in a row.
The event raised $13,000 in donations, said Father Rieder.
What he didn’t say was that he was challenged by parishioners not to shave his head and raised over $600 not to and another $100 to have it done. He went with the larger figure and did not get a haircut. Five women cut their hair to donate to the Locks of Love program.
Wayne Scott walked in with dark straight hair that hung well beneath his shoulders, probably the longest hair of any of the men. He wore a hat on his bald head as he left.
“It looks as if people have chosen to make this part of their Christian lifestyle out here. Two years in a row has made it an official tradition,” Father Rieder said.
The cuts continue through the month of March at various venues. Locations are listed on the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s Web site, stbaldricks.org.