Organizers of the inaugural Havre de Grace head-shaving fundraiser for the St. Baldrick's Foundation raised at least $60,500 for children's cancer research, an amount that is more than double their goal.
The head-shaving event, which was put together by members of the Susquehanna Hose Company, took place Saturday under a tent in the parking lot in front of Bill Bateman's Bistro.
Stylists with Color Images Salon & Day Spa of Havre de Grace shaved people's heads.
Lead organizer Billy Berg, a member of the volunteer fire company, struggled to find the right words to express his feelings about the community response.
"Amazing," he responded. "That's all I can say, is 'amazing,' that's all I can put [into words] right now; I'm still trying to digest all this."
Speaking about 30 minutes before the head-shaving event ended, Berg said at least $60,500 had been raised. People volunteer to get their heads shaved before the audience, raising money in the community beforehand to support their participation.
The fundraising goal listed on the event page is $25,000, and Berg said slightly less than $49,000 had been raised as of Saturday morning.
"Thank you, everyone," Berg told the audience. "Thank you very much."
About 60 men and women, and even a few children, volunteered to get their heads shaved, according to Berg.
One "shavee" was Stacy MacBurney of Havre de Grace. Her daughter is friends with Berg's daughter, and she learned about the St. Baldrick's event through that connection.
The cancer has been stabilized with low doses of chemotherapy.
"She's like a ray of sunshine, and treatment like she's getting really can't be done without people like you coming out to raise the funds," Whitt told the audience.
Serena wore a pink T-shirt, red plaid skirt and red headband Saturday. She is bald from the cancer treatments, and her father Jeff said he had been shaving his head in solidarity since she lost her hair about three years ago.
He said the family has been through "a roller coaster ride of emotions."
"She handles it better than any of us," Whitt said of his daughter.
Kelsi played in the parking lot with Serena after getting her head shaved.
"I'm cold, and it feels creepy if people want to rub my head," Kelsi said.
They attend Delta-Peach Bottom Elementary School and have been friends since kindergarten.
Kelsi said her mom suggested getting her head shaved to support St. Baldrick's.
"I took a few days to think about it, and I said, 'yes,' because I love her," she said, pointing to Serena.