Just a lot off the top

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Four years ago, Sue Lash didn’t want to be bald, but cancer treatment won that battle. On March 2, she went bald by choice and celebrated winning the war.

Lash and a half-dozen other patrons at Ned Kelly’s Irish Pub let stylists from Urban Hair Studio shave their heads to raise money for the pub’s second annual St. Baldrick’s Day event to benefit childhood-cancer research.

“It feels completely different,” said the newly bald Megan Casey. “I wasn’t expecting the little tickle. It’s rejuvenating. It was a little spur of the moment, but within the last 12 minutes I was able to raise $2,000. I’m still in shock.”

“It’s an easy and fun way to raise money for a very serious cause,” reads the St. Baldrick’s website. “Like a walkathon, but without the blisters.”

No blisters, but plenty of beer — the pub was packed with shavees, shavers, donors and onlookers alike.

“Everybody should talk about what they saw today,” said Lash. “It’s so inspiring. If it was your family or your friend, you’d want to help. You’d want to give whatever you can.”

Even though St. Baldrick’s Day is a relatively new phenomenon — the inaugural event was in New York on March 17, 2000 — the foundation raised more than $33 million last year alone. Its name is a play on “bald” and “St. Patrick’s Day.”

“It’s a fantastic organization and a fantastic cause,” said organizer Perri Carnes. “It’s nice to know there’s an organization that’s out there for people who need it.”

He said this year’s donations came in about 35 percent higher than last year, when they tripled their $3,000 goal.

“It went great,” said Ned Kelly’s co-owner Donnie Danesh. “It couldn’t have been better. The love for children is what it’s all about.”

According to the St. Baldrick’s organization, more than 175,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year. And in the United States, more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease — more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined.

Those who’d rather not go bald can still make donations at www.stbaldricks.org.

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