Bald Is Beautiful At Johnny McGorey's

St. Baldrick's head shaving event at local pub benefits child cancer research.

Recently, Massapequa bared it all - or, at least their heads - for a good cause.

Johnny McGorey's in Massapequa Park hosted a St. Baldrick's Foundation head shaving event to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Those involved in the organization’s fundraisers go out and raise pledge money to shave their heads, which is intended to show solidarity with cancer patients.

The honored guest at this event was five year-old Colin Conaty of Massapequa, a spunky little boy who was diagnosed shortly after birth with a brain tumor. He has been in remission now for nearly five years and, if you ever met the energetic lad, you'd never guess how close his brush with tragedy ever was.

The event was set up by Massapequa local Rich Griffin, who's always looking to recruit potential St. Baldrick's participants into "Team Griff."

"St. Baldrick's has been around since 2000, and it's grown to unbelievable heights, not just here, but around the world," he said. "This year I became lead organizer for this event...this is my seventh year getting donations and shaving my head with St. Baldrick's, and I do it for the kids."

Griffin said that 32 people had signed up on their webpage to come down to McGorey's and lose their locks, but walk-ins were happily accepted as well.

"Last year, we had 67 people shave their head...I think we raised close to $30,000," he said. "As of right now, this year we're close to $10,000 and climbing. But we won't know the final total for a week or two."

Tom Stryska of Farmingdale was one of many who turned out to the event.

"I came down to help the children," he said. "Whatever I can do to help the children that need it. This is my second year shaving my head."

Stryska didn't come alone- his ten year-old son, Brendan, was tagging along for the first time this year.

"I'm a little nervous about losing my hair," he said. "But I think it's just a good cause, I guess."

Little Colin Conaty was actually on-hand at the event, along with his four brothers and sisters, each one more Irish-looking then the next. Colin's sister Colleen expressed her gratitude for all the people who came to support her brother.

"It's really great that all these people showed up here today to help Colin," she said.

Colin himself couldn't wait to start his duties as guest of honor: personally shaving the head of the first man in line. And that man was event organizer Rich Griffin himself.

Placing an electric hair trimmer in the hands of a rambunctious and spirited child like Colin might test the bravery of any man, but to the credit of Rich Griffin, he remained perfectly still the entire time Colin ran the buzzer all over his skull.

Luckily, Griffin's daughter, BOCES Cosmetology student Kylie, was present to help guide Colin, ensuring that her father only lost hair and not other vital appendages.

Kylie and three of her BOCES classmates were donating their time today to render every man that sat in front of them as bald as they day their were born.

"We do stuff like this all the time," she said. "We volunteer at soup kitchens, senior citizen proms, and go to hospitals to give women without hair wigs and manicures."

Also present to get shaved at 17 year-old Andrew Cottone of Levittown.

"I had cancer when I was little," he said. "I just want to give back."

Soon the floor of Johnny McGorey's was littered with the shorn strands from countless heads, and the gathered crowd cheered each and every man on as they took their turn. Afterwards, raffle prizes were awarded to lucky ticker holders.

Griffin offered a final word for those sitting on the fence when it comes to parting with their hair for his worthy cause.

"Anyone who has kids, or who is associated with kids, should do this," he said. "Plain and simple."


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