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GROTON — If more bald people are seen on the streets this spring, it’s not from a sudden epidemic of hair loss. It is due to an event being held at Lawrence Academy this weekend, where volunteers have their heads shaved to raise money for cancer research.

“Cancer kills millions of people a year,” said 15-year-old Izzy Lawrence, a sophomore at Lawrence Academy. “So it doesn’t bother me at all to have my head shaved. It’s just hair, it’ll grow back, and it’s for a great cause.”

Students and faculty at Lawrence Academy and even some local residents will take part in the school’s latest “St. Baldrick’s” event, where volunteers have their heads shaved to raise money for cancer research and to show solidarity with victims of the disease, as cancer treatments often cause hair loss.

“I first heard about (St. Baldrick’s) through some other local firefighters and thought that it was a very cool thing for the school to do,” said firefighter/EMT Anthony Hawgood, one of the event’s organizers. “Last year we did it for the first time and had about 20 teachers and kids shave their heads and about 20 more donate ponytails to Locks of Love. So we did both and raised just under $10,000. It was so successful that we’re doing it again this year and so far we’ve got about the same number of kids and adults shaving their heads.”

This year’s event is scheduled to begin Saturday morning when a couple of local hair stylists will be at the school to snip ponytail donations and amateur barbers — winners of a special auction — will have the privilege of shaving volunteers who have signed up to go completely bald.

Although the volunteers having their heads shaved will be predominantly male, including an entire Little League team and its coaches, Lawrence will be the sole female to drop her locks. At least so far.

“I’ve gotten so much support from my friends and family, being female and all,” said Lawrence about her sacrifice. “My hair has been blue, black, blonde, brown, pink, yellow and green since the beginning of the school year, so they weren’t surprised. But we’re all excited about it.”

“In our looks-obsessed society, kids like Izzy are willing to make a statement with their bald heads about the need for cancer research,” said Patricia Lawrence, Izzy’s mother. “Izzy did Locks of Love back when she was in seventh grade and now, as a somewhat Goth high school sophomore with multicolored hair, she’s going to go bald for another good cause. I’m just very proud of her and of her friends.”

So far, Lawrence said, she has helped to raise $600 in St. Baldrick’s current campaign.

“Honestly, Izzy is the first girl who will be fully shaving her head, which is a pretty difficult thing to do with prom season coming up,” Hawgood said. “A bunch of girls will be donating ponytails but Izzy is the first girl to have her head entirely shaved. I think it’s great that kids are willing to do that.”

Begun in 1999 as a challenge between friends, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has grown into what organizers claim is “the world’s biggest volunteer-driven fund-raising program for childhood cancer.”

St. Baldrick’s events have been held in 46 states and 18 countries, raising over $34 million and shaving more than 46,000 heads over the years.

Hawgood, an admissions official at Lawrence Academy, inaugurated the St. Baldrick’s drive on campus last year by having his own head shaved and said he plans to do it again.

As for Lawrence, unfazed by her coming ordeal, she recommended that other young people also take part, at least by making pledges.

“I like that everyone can contribute without sacrificing their hair,” Lawrence said. “The pledge system and the Web site are really well organized, and the whole school is getting involved and raising awareness. I’m really looking forward to it and definitely recommend that others try it too!”

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