Bristol's firefighters and crime fighters become cancer fighters

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It’s unclear whether St. Baldrick is an actual saint, but for those willing to shave their head to raise money for children with cancer, their efforts are saintly.

From now through March 15, teams from Bristol and Warren’s police and fire departments have put their hair on the line in hope of collecting $2,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that raises money to fund research for childhood cancer.

According to the foundation’s website, www.StBaldricks.org, only 4 percent of cancer research funding goes into childhood cancers. The reason, according to the website, is “because childhood cancer drugs are not profitable.”

The Bristol Fire Department team, headed by assistant chief James Vieira and the Bristol Police Department team, headed by Paul Medeiros, plan to become ‘shavees’ regardless of the outcome of money raised.

But Mr. Vieira, who has been sporting a thick moustache for three and a half decades put his team’s money where his upper lip is.

“If the Bristol fire team raises $1,000 I’ll shave the moustache,” he said. “For 35-plus years I had the thing. If the fire department hits a grand the moustache goes.”

On Wednesday morning, however, town administrator Tony Teixeira sweetened the pot, sending out a challenge to both teams.

“They challenged each other,” Mr. Teixeira said. “I’m challenging them.”

If both teams collect a total of $3,000, Mr. Teixeira will shave his head.

“Or dye it purple,” he said. “Purple hair for a month or they can take turns cutting it off. I’m OK with either. It’s a good cause.”

Mr. Teixeira would not say whether he would issue a similar challenge to fire chief Bob Martin and police chief Josue Canario.

On Thursday, March 14, participants from towns across Rhode Island will meet at Fat Belly’s Pub, 125 Canal St. in Providence at 6 p.m. Hair-cutters will be on hand to remove the locks of those who placed their hair on the line to raise money for childhood cancer research.

Donations to the teams from Bristol and Warren can be made on the St. Baldrick’s website or Facebook page. So far the Bristol fire department has raised $445. The police have slightly less, with only one week left to reach their goal.

 

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.