Notes by pub light after watching a remarkable day of community fundraising for childhood cancer research:
Saturday’s St. Baldrick’s Foundation annual shave-a-thon at McMullan’s Irish Pub and other venues throughout the valley generated hundreds of thousands of dollars, and separated hundreds of volunteers from their hairstyles. The event also took more than a few beards.
One belonged to a fellow names Monster Davis, who I hear has been growing his facial hair for approximately 35 years.
At St. Baldrick’s, all the monsters are friendly.
Monster is pals with Cirque’s remarkable high-flying acrobat, Erica Linz, who looks like she could fit in the big man’s shirt pocket. Erica is not only the star of James Cameron’s delightful 2012 Cirque feature “Worlds Away,” but she’s also one of the driving forces behind the annual Circus Couture childhood cancer fundraiser. When it comes to helping the children’s charity, Erica is everywhere.
In keeping with her understated style, she wore an outrageous cellophane faerie dress Saturday that might have been borrowed from Tinker Bell’s personal collection. It was a day filled with such magical moments.
MOM-DAUGHTER: McMullan’s fills to overflowing during St. Baldrick’s, and dozens of late arrivals donate and shave outside. Each has his own reason for stepping up.
Take Lydia Marroquin and daughter Emory, for instance.
When Lydia learned that a 5-year-old girl at her church had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, she wanted to express solidarity with the family and raise funds on their behalf. So she decided to become a “shavee.”
Learning of the decision, Emory said, “Mom, I know how much you love your hair. I want to do this with you.”
And so they did.
Out of such spontaneity are dollars raised that have helped the St. Baldrick’s Foundation become the largest funder of childhood cancer research in the nation outside the federal government.
SCHOOL DAYS: Teachers and students from the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus and West Career and Technical Academy showed their school spirit and then some by participating in the event.
“They’ve been phenomenal,” pub proprietress Lynn McMullan says.
TIP O’ THE HAT: Ri Ra, Nine Fine Irishmen, Vinyl at the Hard Rock and McMullan’s fill up with characters during the big shave, but none has more style than Hap Hendrick, the older fellow who is easy to spot in his bowler hat.
Hap was inspired to help the cause nearly a decade ago when he learned about the brain cancer struggle of a brave little girl named Amelia.
That girl, my daughter, Amelia Smith, turns 18 in a couple of weeks. Although her medical challenges continue, she remains cancer-free.
NEW ALLIES: The St. Baldrick’s effort grows each year in Southern Nevada with locals joining the event for a variety of reasons.
Mark Eagleson, for instance, had his own medical struggle and was inspired by the chance to help children.
“I said that if I made it through, I’d shave my head,” Eagleson said.
GOOD FRIENDS: Once again a group of friends of the intrepid Marcy Humm, who cherishes her family and grandchildren as she continues her own cancer battle, turned out to shave in her honor and raise funds for research. Marcy has spent many years as one of the key volunteers at the Rape Crisis Center.
AGELESS HELP: Public relations veteran Judy Bryer helps get the good word out locally for St. Baldrick’s. At 92, her life sidekick Maximilian is a gifted raconteur and bon vivant who admits age is slowing him down a bit.
“I decided to give up skiing when I turned 90,” Max says.
He, too, was there for the kids. It’s a cause with no age limit.
John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (702) 383-0295.