'The Oxford Boys' to Shave Locks for a Cure

A group of local children to shave their heads on Monday to raise for cancer research.

None of them stands taller than five feet or weighs more than 100 pounds.

But when it comes to giving of themselves for others, each one of "The Oxford Boys" has the heart of a lion.

They probably don't know the difference between benign and malignant, or how to spell chemotherapy, but five Quaker Farms School pupils ranging from 3-to-8 years old can tell you all you need to know about why they will shave their heads in Waterbury Monday: "We're helping sick kids," says 8-year-old Aiden Casper.

For the second straight year, "The Oxford Boys" will participate in a shave-a-thon to raise money for The St. Baldrick's Foundation, which, according to its website, is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. Last year, the organization raised more than $22 million for childhood cancer research; about $44,000 of which was raised at the Waterbury event.

Monday's second-annual Brass City program for St. Baldrick's will be held at 4 p.m. at the Old Waterville Firehouse, 1551 Thomaston Ave. It is sponsored by the Waterbury Fire Fighters Association and spearheaded by Waterbury firefighter and Oxford resident Tony Cuomo. He said the event will feature food and beverages, and that WTNH News 8 TV personality Teresa LaBarbera, a Middlebury native, will attend from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

As of last week, the event had raised a little more than half of what it took in last year, Cuomo said.

"Times are tough and people are cutting back, but the bottom line is if we raise just $1, it would be worth it," he said.

The money provides research grants to scientists and doctors, according to the St. Baldrick's website. Cuomo and his 5-year-old son, Nicholas Cuomo, shave their heads in honor of Nicholas' cousin, Brent McCreesh, of Fairfield, who was diagnosed with nueroblastoma, a life-threatening tumor, when he was a year-and-a-half. Brent is now 7 and cancer free.

The McCreesh family participates in a St. Baldrick's event every year at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport; this year's event will be held on Sunday. Since 2005, Team Brent, through various fundraisers, has raised $4.7 million for cancer research, according to Team Brent.com.

While Brent is one of the lucky ones, there are many other children who lose the battle. 

"What gets me, is when you look at some of these profiles on the St. Baldrick's site that show pictures of children with the status as 'angel,'" Tony Cuomo said. "You can't look at these kids and not want to cry. They haven't even lived their life before it's taken from them."

So when the razor starts buzzing on Monday, it will be those children, and others battling the disease, who will make him forget about going bald.

"Hair grows back," he said."A child doesn't get their life back."

"The Oxford Boys" consist of Aidan Figueroa, 6, Aiden Casper, 8, Nicholas Cuomo, 5, Ryan Wolyniec, 7, and Nathan Wolyniec, 3. To donate to "The Oxford Boys," click here.  


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