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Momentum for St. Baldrick's Day

Event benefits childhood-cancer research.

Just a couple days are left until the big, St. Baldrick's Day 2007 shaving extravaganza in Centreville, and momentum is building.

It's set for Saturday, March 17, from 5-8 p.m., at Fast Eddie's in the Newgate Shopping Center, and this third-annual event may well attract its greatest number of participants ever.

SINCE LAST WEEK at this time, 17 more people have signed up to have their heads shaved bald — bringing the total number of shavees for this year's celebration to a whopping 53.

It's St. Patrick's day with a twist because people pay money to see their friends and relatives shorn of their locks, and the proceeds go toward finding a cure for childhood cancer.

"Everyone always has a good time," said organizer Meg Crossett of Centreville's Pleasant Hill community. "It's so much fun, and it's for such a good cause."

Her own daughter, Rachel, a bright and happy child, died of cancer in July 2001 at age 6, after a long and brave struggle. And Crossett organizes this event in her honor and also in tribute to all other children presently fighting against this terrible disease.

She hopes this year's St. Baldrick's Day will raise $50,000 and, so far, family members and buddies of the current crop of shavees have ponied up nearly $27,300 to see them shaved bald.

The main recipient of the funds is the Children's Oncology Group — the foremost, childhood-cancer research organization in the world. It's a network of doctors, nurses and scientists who conduct clinical trials and cutting-edge research in this field.

THIS YEAR'S SHAVEES include Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully), participating for his second time, and Chantilly High Varsity Football Coach Mike Lalli. And now seven members of the Sully District Police Station have volunteered to have their heads shaved, as well.

They'll do it a day early, at a private event at the Fairfax County Police Association, but the money will go to the same cause. "Team Sully's" shavees are Mark Blackington, Garrett Broderick, Richard Castilon, Harold Morris, Michael O'Brien Jr., Mike Sharpe and Dennis Vorbau.

To contribute to the funds they'll raise for St. Baldrick's Day, go to www.stbaldricks.org/get_involved/donate.html and type in TEAM SULLY.

"The Sully District Police Station is trying to give back to the community for a very good cause, and we invite the community to join us in this cause," said Crime Prevention Officer Mary Hulse. "Thank you from all of the officers at Sully and the children battling this horrific disease."

St. Baldrick's is the world's biggest volunteer-driven, fund-raising program for childhood cancer. Since its inception in 1999, events have taken place in 10 countries and 42 U.S. states, raising more than $20 million and shaving more than 26,000 heads.

But with 46 children diagnosed with cancer each day, the need to find a cure as soon as possible is crucial, and everyone in the local community can help. Donations to Centreville's event may also be made at www.stbaldricks.org/events/event_info.html?EventID=149.