PATERSON, NJ – Readers may have noticed an increase in bald heads across the City of Paterson, primarily among well known figures such as Councilman Luis Velez; Kevin Slavin, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health; and Passaic County Freeholder Assad Ahkter, recently.   

And while under normal circumstances the stress of their jobs could certainly be considered a contributing factor of their hair loss, the reason for the change in hair styles is rooted in something much more philanthropic.

On Thursday, September 14, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital partnered with Paterson Fire Department Chief Brian McDermott, Paterson Police Department Chief Troy Oswald and members of the Passaic County Sheriff's Office for a Life-Shaving Event to raise awareness of pediatric cancer and sickle cell disease during which more than 85 people went bald for a cause.

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“There Is no doubt that being a police officer or firefighter takes courage,” McDermott and Oswald said in a joint statement to TAPinto Paterson with their freshly shaved heads. “For us though, it is the children that wake up every morning, continuing their fights with cancer and sickle cell anemia that are the true heroes in our community.”

“Our young patients are among the bravest and finest,” Michael Lamacchia, MD, Chairman of Pediatrics, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, added. “Joining together with our Paterson first responders is an incredible way to support our children and their families as they battle,” the diseases.

Among the barbers to contribute their time, and shears, to the event was Casey Melvin whose barbershop, Simply the Best, has been a fixture in the community for 24 years. Drawn to the cause because he has lost close friends to cancer, Melvin said that community activism is a part of who he is, and that he’s always willing to lend himself to “humanitarian causes.”

“It was a perfect fit,” Melvin said.

Offering his respect to the participants for “taking it all off,” Melvin joked that  as hard of a decision as it might be, for some of them it’s “time to let it go,” when it comes to trying to maintain a particular hairstyle.

 Click here for more information about how you can support St. Joseph’s lifesaving services.


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