In The News

Take it off — take it all off Going bald at O’Neills for cancer

March 12, 2011

Written by: Chase Wright

Don’t be surprised to see an abundance of freshly shaved heads in South Norwalk on Saturday.

O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Restaurant will host a charitable event beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday to raise money for childhood cancer research.

More than 40 volunteers, including eight Norwalk firefighters, have agreed to shave their heads and donate all the proceeds to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, said Oliver O’Neill, owner of O’Neill’s Irish Pub.

“It’s a real feel-good fundraiser,” said O’Neill, who has hosted the event three times at his pub on 93 N. Main St.

Shaving heads is an unusual fundraiser, but it is undertaken in solidarity with children diagnosed with cancer who often lose their hair during treatment.

According to its Web site, since its inception in the spring of 2000, St. Baldrick’s has become the biggest volunteer-driven fundraising program for childhood cancer, raising nearly $70 million.

O’Neill’s has contributed about $180,000 to the cause, and expects to raise more than $40,000 at this year’s event.

“It’s a great foundation,” said the owner. “We know the money gets in the right hands and is used for a worthy cause.”

A native of Tipperary, Ireland, O’Neill lost his sister to cancer years ago. He moved to the states in 1995 and opened a pub in South Norwalk on St. Patrick’s Day in 1999.

About 40 people, both men and women, will walk out of O’Neill’s on Saturday night with freshly shorn heads. Barbers and hairstylists from SoNo Academy, Niko Niko Salon and Mane Street Salon have volunteered to shave heads.

The St. Baldrick’s head-shaving fundraiser will begin at 3 p.m., followed by live Irish music by Padraig Allen, along with Tangled Vine, who play a live set beginning at 10:30 p.m.

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