Dozens in Weston go bald to fight childhood cancer
WESTON — The parish hall at St. Francis of Assisi Church was buzzing with excitement for the head-shaving event that took place this past Saturday.
More than 50 members of the Weston community took turns ridding their heads of hair to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity that raises money to help battle childhood cancer.
This was Team Weston’s third year participating in the fundraiser. Originally, the group was a part of Westport’s St. Baldrick’s event at the Westport Weston YMCA. But in 2017, residents Debbie Morvillo and Teresa Bello formed Team Weston, and the event has been held at the church ever since.
There was live entertainment by Weston’s own Caravan The Band, and food and drink from Black Cat Grille, Peter’s Weston Market and Alley Kat Pizza Truck.
There was also a silent auction of various sports memorabilia and art pieces from local artists like Linda Colletta, who is known for her decor pieces. Other items included gift certificates to restaurants in both Weston and Westport.
Former New York Giants Super Bowl champion Chris Canty also made an appearance and led the kickoff of the shavings.
Throughout the evening, many shared stories of loved ones affected by the disease, but not all of them with a happy ending.
For Weston resident and parent Roneil Icator, the fundraiser was especially hard for him — his daughter, Isabella, died in September 2012 at age 9 from brain cancer.
“We have come a long way in pediatric research,” Icatar said, adding how he and his wife took Isabella around the world — from the Phillipines and Israel to Mexico and Germany — looking for any available treatment. “I just wanted to buy her time.”
The disease took such a toll on the family that Ictar’s wife had to quit her job as a doctor to spend more time with Isabella.
Icatar explain how Isabella would draw pictures of school buses, saying that she wanted to go back to school and be with her friends.
“It was a very difficult time for our entire family,” Icatar said. “... I remember going to visit Isabella during my lunch breaks from work. We all spent as much time as we could, and someone was always with her,” Icatar explained.
It was after Ictar shared his personal story that children and adults began lining up to get their heads shaved.
While recording on his cellphone, Canty asked each of the participants why they wanted to get their heads shaved, to which several responded, “I’m doing this for children with cancer,” “St. Baldrick’s,” and “No way should cancer win”
One young boy said he was shaving his head in memory of his friend’s sister, who died of cancer.
“We sold out last year and this year, and the crowd was so enthusiastic,” said Lisa Bigelow, one of the volunteers for Team Weston.
Bigelow said the team is still tallying donations and expense receipts, but it is believed the fundraising goal of $50,000 was achieved.
“The community just blew it out of the water,” Bigelow said.
To donate to the St. Baldrick’s foundation, visit www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/13187/2019