By Andrew Wroblewski
For the last four years, several members of the Finnegan family have been helping to raise money for childhood-cancer research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. First one Finnegan attended, then two or three, and eventually St. Baldrick’s became a staple event for the family.
Four generations of Finnegans made their way out to Northport for the annual group shave at Napper Tandy’s Irish Pub and shaved their heads in the communal effort to find a cure.
“It’s really been hard to see other families suffer like we have,” said Tom, who had his head shaved alongside family members: Ian Savage, Dan Finnegan, Jenifer Kelsch, Michael Finnegan, Joseph Finnegan, Peter Roddin, Michael Finnegan, Timmy Kelsch and Lacy Rose.
As a part of the cause that’s raised $155 million since 2005 for research grants aimed at finding cures for childhood cancer, the Finnegans and hundreds of others helped to raise $114,445 for the Northport St. Baldrick’s cause as of press time on Tuesday.
One of the original members of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation was an organizer of this year’s event, John McKenna – a firefighter for the Northport Fire Department. McKenna was a part of the team that hosted the first-ever Northport-based St. Baldrick’s event 12 years ago.
In 2015, the Northport community shattered the goal of $100,000 that it had established prior to the shaving.
In all, 28 different teams participated Saturday, including Jen’s Ducks, a team founded in the memory of Jennifer Accardo, who once served on the Northport St. Baldrick’s committee. Diagnosed with brain cancer as a 14-year-old, Accardo passed away in 2010, but her family and friends continue to give back in her memory through Jen’s Ducks. The team name, her father John said, comes from Accardo’s love for ducks – among things, such as NASCAR racing and Converse shoes – and this year the ducks raised $5,000.
“We started [Jen’s Ducks] to try and carry on her fanaticism for giving back,” John, of Shirley, said. “She was unstoppable. Every year she would raise money, I would raise money… [and now] after she passed away, we get coworkers, friends and family to help.”
The 12th Napper Tandy’s event came one day after the Northport-East Northport School District held its annual St. Baldrick’s event. With 342 participants spread across 16 teams, the now hairless Tigers raised $104,103, as of press time Tuesday, for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in 2015. Just as the Napper Tandy’s event did, the total raised by the school district passed the goal of $100,000 that was set before the shavings began.