It was St. Baldrick’s Day again in New Hyde Park recently, and people happily lined up to have their heads shaved to raise money to combat childhood cancer for the ninth-consecutive year.
The atmosphere was festive on Tuesday, March 28, in Christ Hall where Nick Mosesso, the former Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) officer who organized the first St. Baldrick’s fundraiser in New Hyde Park, again presided over the annual spring event.
“It was like a one year at a time thing. We just figured we’d do it and see what could happen,” Mosesso said.
Mosesso said the event ultimately brought in more than $41,000 in funds for juvenile cancer research, a slight increase over the $35,000 raised last year, but a quantum leap over the approximately $13,000 he said the first event raised.
The national St. Baldrick’s Foundation has raised $200 million from 2005 through 2016 in grant research funding for childhood cancer research.
Over its nine years, the New Hyde Park St. Baldrick’s Day event has raised $341,000 for the cause.
“People convince you that you have to do it again because of the interest they show in it,” Mosesso said at the event on Tuesday. “We have a lot of regulars year to year and each year we have an infusion of new volunteers.”
Pat Farrel, former village clerk for New Hyde Park, played piano and sang as he has done at each St. Baldrick’s event.
That first event was sponsored by the NCPD Third Precinct, where Mosesso served. Now the event is co-sponsored by NCPD and the Village of New Hyde Park.
NCPD Chief Sean McCarthy, who was formerly Mosesso’s commanding officer at the third precinct, had his head shaved in support of the cause for the seventh consecutive year last week.
“I’m going to keep coming as long as they keep doing this,” said McCarthy, who commended Mosesso for his role in starting the local campaign.
The formula for success in New Hyde Park, similar to that of other local St. Baldrick’s Day events around the country, is based on volunteers for the head shaving to solicit sponsors to donate to the cause.
This year, Mosesso said the St. Baldrick’s group in New Hyde Park raised $30,000 prior to the head-shaving event.
Like Mosesso, Noreen Murphy, formerly a crossing guard, has been at each year’s event as a barber.
“It’s been great. We keep coming back,” she said. “It makes you feel like you’re helping a lot of people.”
But last week, she also took on an alternate role, sitting in the chair to have her shaved as well. She said she did it after losing a bet to her husband, Jamie, that she’d join him in having her head shaved if he could raise $5,000 this year.
Jamie Murphy, who has raised money for the St. Baldrick’s cause by having his shaved for the duration of the local event, said cancer has touched his family in a personal way. He lost his mother to lung cancer five years ago and his wife lost her brother, Stephen O’Keefe, to throat cancer two years ago. This year he raised more than $5,500 for the St. Baldrick’s effort.
“I’ve sent emails and texts and made phone calls to friends,” Jamie Murphy said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s all about the children.”
Local civic organizations contributed to the cause last week as well. The New Hyde Park Lions Club donated $1,500 and the Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce donated $500.
The local chapter of the national Omega Gamma Delta fraternity, based in Franklin Square, donated $2,000.
Several members of Boy Scouts of America Troup 298, based in New Hyde Park, had their heads shaved for the cause. David Talero, a sophomore at Floral Park Memorial High School, was among the Boy Scouts who volunteered.
After having his long hair shorn, he said he wanted to raise awareness among his peers for those whose lives are suddenly changed when stricken by cancer.
“Life can change so easily and your appearance can change too,” Talero said.
Donations can still be made online at St.baldricks.org/events/mypage/2164/2017.