Cutting it for a cause

Published 10:58 pm Saturday, June 2, 2012

Man to shave full beard, long hair for cancer research

Chad Oxton’s full, scraggly, gray-and-brown beard falls down to his chest, about the same length as his lighter-brown hair.

Chad Oxton will be shaving his beard and hair for the St. Baldrick's Foundation.

But in two weeks, the only hair left on Oxton’s head will be his eyebrows. And he’s willing to shave those, too, if a childhood cancer survivor requests it.

Oxton, a street supervisor for the Suffolk Department of Public Works, is famed for his wavy locks. But he’s giving them up to help raise money to research childhood cancer.

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“For us, it’s easy,” he said. “We get to make a choice. Kids that are fighting cancer don’t have that choice.”

On June 15, all of his hair will be shaved off as part of a virtual shaving party for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds research into childhood cancer. Shaving parties are its signature fundraiser.

Oxton didn’t set out to grow his hair just to shave it off. A diehard hockey fan, he started growing his beard about three years ago as part of a hockey superstition that dictates fans and players shouldn’t shave during the playoffs.

“I liked it, so I stopped cutting it,” he said.

Previously, Oxton had kept both his hair and beard trimmed short.

But now, the hair serves a higher purpose than just supporting his hockey team.

“It’s just to raise money and show solidarity with the children that are battling cancer,” he said.

He has set a goal of $3,000. He is currently about halfway there, he said.

“My hair doesn’t come cheap,” he said.

Oxton admits he’s a little nervous about shaving, particularly his facial hair.

“Since 1999, I’ve never been without facial hair of some kind,” he said. “I don’t know how many chins have sprouted up under there.”

He also admits he’s attached to his hair and beard as part of his identity. He thinks his wife will be shocked, he said.

But to him, it’s all worth it to help raise money for childhood cancer research. Though he doesn’t have a family history of cancer, Oxton said he feels it’s important to support the cause.

Those who wish to donate to Oxton’s virtual shaving party can visit www.stbaldricks.org and search for Chad Oxton in the box in the top right.

For more information, visit www.stbaldricks.org or email Oxton at oxton@charter.net.