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Hair-razing! Buzz was all about St. Baldrick's cause at Team Teddy fundraiser

It was shear fun for a good cause.

Hair was flying Friday evening at Osborn Hill School as Team Teddy held its annual St. Baldrick's head-shearing event to raise money for the fight against pediatric cancer.

Hundreds of people collected pledges for the cause and, as promised, then went under the buzzers of a team of stylists, from Salon Isa and Grand Illusion.

The event proceeds, with pledges totaling $87,000 at the start of Friday's shearing, benefit the California-based St. Baldrick's Foundation, which funds pediatric cancer research projects. Organizers also were accepting donations from those who chose to pass on the shear fun.

In addition to the mass buzz cuts, event highlights the sale of baked goods, snacks and t-shirts, a silent auction and face painting. The Super Duper Weenie truck was also there to supply hot dogs to attendees.

This was Team Teddy's fifth annual St. Baldrick's party, initially organized in memory of Teddy Gerber, an Osborn Hill student who died in 2010 at age 9 from undifferentiated sarcoma. To date, the event has raised a combined total of more than $500,000.

Bill Gerber, Teddy's father, welcomed attendees, who included Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau and state Rep. Brenda Kupchick. Gerber recognized exceptional fundraising efforts among the participants, like a group of girls calling themselves the Power of Peace, who raised $4,300 by planting peace signs in people's yards and selling baked goods. Osborn Hill students also managed to raise $442 in spare change.

"The symbolism of head-shaving is to show solidarity with chemotherapy patients who have lost their hair," said Gerber. The hair-shearing tradition dates to a 2001 St. Patrick's Day party in Manhattan at which 19 men shaved their heads for charity.

To set buzz cutters in motion, Gerber asked the crowd packed into the auditorium, "Are you ready for a haircut?" Gerber himself was among the shavees, as were event veterans like Evan O'Keefe, 14, and Nick Toledo, 15. Both teens also were accorded the distinction of membership in the Knights of the Bald Table, a group of participants who've had their heads shaved seven times or more for the cause.

To donate online to Team Teddy or to contact the St. Baldrick's Foundation, visit: http://bit.ly/1oJYdL1

Mike Lauterborn

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