The Putnam Examiner

Local Residents Shed Their Hair in Honor of Smiling Warrior

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By Neal Rentz

Several residents from Putnam County and elsewhere willingly lost their hair on Saturday in Carmel for a good cause and in honor of a young Kevin Blackman who was lost too soon.

They had their heads shaved at the Italia Barber Shop in the Putnam Plaza Shopping Center to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which does pediatric cancer research.

Raffles were also held at the event at Fiddler’s Green pub, which is also located in the shopping center.

Patterson resident Caroline Dumont said the event was being held “in honor of our smiling warrior Kevin Robert Blackman,” who died about two months ago of ALL, a form of leukemia.” He fought cancer since he was six months old and died about 18 months later, Dumont said.

Kevin’s mother, Kelly, who lives in Brewster, provided updates on her son’s condition via Facebook, Dumont said. “Everyone followed his story,” Dumont said.

Dumont said hair cutting was chosen for the fundraising effort to show “solidarity with children with cancer because they lose their hair from the cancer treatments,” she said.

Dumont said she is working to help St. Baldrick’s because, “I cannot stand seeing parents bury their children. I think it’s the most awful thing ever for anyone to go through,” she said.

Dumont said the goal for the day was to raise $10,000 for the foundation.

Donations were made on line and there were raffles at the restaurant at the party.

Before the event was publicized on Facebook only three people committed to having their hair shaved, Dumont said. However, after publicizing the event on social media, a total of 18 people agreed to have their heads shaved and even more may agree to do so at the event, she said. “We are just overwhelmed by the generosity throughout the community,” Carmel resident Danielle Alvarez said, noting many items were donated for the raffles.

“Once Caroline reached out to me I was ready to go,” Alvarez said. “I lost a child, not from cancer, but I know Kelly’s pain. And I don’t think any parent should ever have to go through that.”

One of the first persons to have his hair cut, Pat Brady of Carmel, had not done so for three years. “I grew up with Kevin Blackman’s grandfather,” Brady said. “It’s something to do. I can always grow the hair back.”

Doing the honors on Brady’s hair and beard was barber Pete Gaetano. “It’s an awesome event. It’s a good cause. Everybody’s having a good time,” he said. The barbershop agreed to cut the hair because it supported the goal of raising funds for the foundation, he said. “We were more than willing to help out,” he said.

Kelly Blackman was gratified by the show of support for the foundation in honor of her son. “This is amazing. This is really, really cool. We had really nothing to do with this. It was all put on by the community and we’re kind of in awe,” she said.

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