CVU football players, coaches shave heads for cancer research
By Sheri Duff
It was a typical fall Saturday on the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington. Locals, students, and tourists made their way down the outdoor pedestrian mall as kiosk vendors, street performers, restaurants, and boutiques beckoned. A 95 Triple X radio personality on a mega microphone called attention to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Fundraiser in front of Ri Ra’s Irish Pub. The Foundation, the largest volunteer-run organization in the world, raises money through participants who agree to shave their heads in exchange for donations for childhood cancer research.
A few years ago, 10-year Foundation event host and volunteer Glenn Brown, owner of Burlington’s Chop Shop Hair Design, mentioned the annual fundraiser to a client with close ties to Champlain Valley Union (CVU) football. Over the years, the Redhawks were unable to participate because of football, however, an open Saturday in this year’s schedule allowed willing players from all three squads to take part in this team building activity.
Although most of the guys were self-conscious and hesitant at first, once CVU’s Kienan Kittredge shaved off his hair, followed by Connor Gobeille, Bennett Cazayoux, and Thomas Robinson, other players chose to take part in the worthy cause. Swayed by positive peer pressure, these high school students answered the call to be heroes. The coaches also responded to the call. Head football coach Jim Provost was shorn after asking the crowd to come up with another $100 donation and Junior Varsity A team head coach Rahn Fleming raised over $600.
“I was so impressed with their bravery,” said parent Julie Shea. “They were on Church Street shaving their heads in front of crowds of people,” she continued. “It was a lot to ask of these guys, some just starting out in the social rollercoaster that is high school and others wanting to look their best right now for college visits, interviews, and girls. I personally think they all look very handsome. As a recipient of their efforts might say, they look like heroes,” Shea said noting that she stole that line from the Foundation’s website.
As the day and weekend progressed, the football players became accustomed to their new look. By the time the bald Redhawks returned to school on Monday, they wore their white scalps with pride. And they should be proud. They stood in solidarity with each other and with kids fighting cancer, raised money to find cures, gave hope to infants, children, teens, and young adults with childhood cancers, and proved that being bald is beautiful.
Of the 58 participants in Saturday’s St. Baldrick’s Foundation Fundraiser, many were Redhawk football players. Listed as a top team fundraiser, CVU’s efforts raised $1,755 of the total $8,765. Additional donations were collected on Church Street during the event and at the high school on Monday to push the total over $2,000.
To make a tax-deductible donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation visit www.stbaldricks.org or email Julie Shea at email@example.com.