Weekly Feature



2012-03-29 / Front Page

East’s Bald for Bucks campaign nets $36K

by KIMBERLY MCDOWELL
Editor

West Seneca East’s Emily Picone, left as well as far right, goes “Bald for Bucks” on Friday during the culmination of the school’s campaign. Picone, who lost her mother to cancer three weeks ago, raised nearly $3,000 for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Prior to losing her locks, she poses with friend Bailee Gallivan, right photo, standing at left. West Seneca East’s Emily Picone, left as well as far right, goes “Bald for Bucks” on Friday during the culmination of the school’s campaign. Picone, who lost her mother to cancer three weeks ago, raised nearly $3,000 for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Prior to losing her locks, she poses with friend Bailee Gallivan, right photo, standing at left.

When sadness fills your heart and such thoughts consume your mind, it’s been said that you need to laugh or else you’ll cry. Emily Picone did both on Friday.

The senior at West Seneca East was shaking before she sat down. Then, a volunteer from Supercuts wrapped a black sheet around her shoulders just as the gymnasium erupted with cheers. Picone locked eyes with her family as the clippers buzzed in her ear.

That’s when the first tear streamed down her face.

Picone opted to go bald in the name of cancer awareness, having raised $2,720 for her school’s “Goin’ Bald for Bucks” campaign. She was the top fundraiser out of more than 100 students and faculty members. Participants went bald, cut at least 10 inches of their hair for Locks of Love, dyed their hair purple — the color associated with cancer awareness — or received purple extensions.

The school collectively raised $35,972, which directly benefits Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

English teacher Dyan Scritchfield — also the adviser to Student Council, which runs the school’s campaign — said that funds continue to trickle in.

“The generosity, compassion and character demonstrated by the student body, staff, and the community of West Seneca East Senior is overwhelming,” she said. “I have never been more proud to be part of the East environment that truly instills the concept of selflessness and integrity.”

This year’s campaign was especially poignant for Picone after losing her mother to cancer just three weeks ago. Sharon Marie (nee Bauch) Picone was diagnosed in June 2011 and died on Tuesday, March 6.


East sophomore Michael Tomasulo goes bald on Friday during the school’s “Goin’ Bald for Bucks” campaign. He was the second-highest student fundraiser, collecting $2,195. 
Photo by John RusacPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com East sophomore Michael Tomasulo goes bald on Friday during the school’s “Goin’ Bald for Bucks” campaign. He was the second-highest student fundraiser, collecting $2,195. Photo by John RusacPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com

“My mom donated to me,” Picone said, somewhat distracted by the bustle of people surrounding her in the gymnasium. Her fingertips continuously traced the contour of her newly shaven head. “But I told her, ‘This is for you; you’re not donating.’”

It was a blur of emotions and thoughts for Picone as she was losing her locks, which have always extended well beyond her shoulders, according to her father, Joe Picone Jr. He proudly took pictures from a few feet away as she clung to her boyfriend’s hand. Anthony Buccella, a junior, raised $550 and also went bald.

“I wanted to support her and everything she’s gone through,” Buccella said. “It’s been tough for her ... she’s gotten a lot of support from family and friends. She’s loved.”

More than 100 students and staff rallied in support of Picone as her head was shaved. Also present to champion her actions that day were grandparents Dee and Joe Picone Sr., as well as aunts Lisa Riggs; Margaret Bauch, a clerk typist at West Seneca East Elementary School; and Kathleen Springer, sister of Sharon Picone.

“She would have been proud,” Springer said through the tears.

West Seneca East Senior’s efforts this year — currently in its third year — netted approximately $10,000 more than last year’s campaign. That amount, $25,000, was nearly double what had been raised in 2010.

“Each year, this fundraiser grows as people realize the value of this cause and would like to be empowered to assist in any small way. They treat the gesture of ‘Goin’ Bald’ with respect and they recognize that they are paying tribute to all of those who have been afflicted by this horrible disease,” Scritchfield added.

In addition to Picone, other top student fundraisers included Michael Tomasulo, $2,195; Bailee Gallivan, $1,830; Madelyn Reed, $1,430; and Claire Dugan, $1,428.

District treasurer Brian Schulz was the top staff fundraiser, collecting $1,750 in pledges. He also shaved his head last week, bringing with him his own personal stylist to do the deed.

“My wife’s idea,” he joked, “But at least [the stylist] kept me laughing. No nicks, no cuts, no hair.”

A handful of Supercuts stylists donated their time on Friday to shave, cut and dye hair for five straight hours in the school’s gymnasium.

email: kmcdowell@beenews.com

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