Home Community Community News Dozens are sheared in St. Baldrick’s event honoring Sam Duffy, Greenport’s 5-year-old...

Dozens are sheared in St. Baldrick’s event honoring Sam Duffy, Greenport’s 5-year-old superhero battling leukemia: Photos

Southold Police Officer Chris Salmon reacts to his new haircut. Photo: Denise Civiletti

First and South in Greenport was packed today — but the popular restaurant wasn’t crammed with hungry diners. Instead its dining room was filled shoulder-to-shoulder with supporters of Sam Duffy and “Sam’s Heroes”  — the two dozen or so people who would be having their heads shaved to raise funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Sam, age 5, was diagnosed a year ago with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He’s undergoing chemotherapy treatment and grappling with its many side effects, his mom Holly Lanzetta said. Lanzetta said her family wanted to do something to help all children battling cancer and decided a St. Baldrick’s fundraiser was the way to do it. Sam loves dressing up in superhero costumes — today he was Spiderman — so Lanzetta decided to call the event “Sam’s Heroes.”

Aa of the 11 a.m “shave-a-thon” start time, there were 22 heroes signed up to have their heads shaved. Collectively they’d raised more than $14,000. But walk-ins were joining the cause, including people who just heard about the event this morning, like Johnathan Montgomery, 15, of Greenport. Jonathan said his aunt told him about it this morning and he thought, “Why not?”

Southold Police Officer Chris Salmon said he decided to get his head shaved “five seconds before I sat in the chair ‚” when fellow officer David Okula “told me I was doing it.” The two cops had their heads shaved together.

Greenport resident and school bus driver Chatty Allen signed up the minute she heard about the event, while attending a fundraiser for another local resident battling cancer, Danielle Harrison-Meraz. She became one of the event’s top fundraisers, bringing in more than $700 for the cause.

“Oh my God, I look like my brother!” Allen exclaimed after seeing her bald visage for the first time on a friend’s cell phone.

Ashlee Reiniger of Southold not only shaved his head, he shaved his full, bushy black beard, becoming clean-shaven for the first time since 1998. His two young daughters, who are good friends of Sam, were in awe — they’d never seen him without a beard.

There was music, excitement and a lot of laughter for today’s St. Baldrick’s shave-a-thon, but the somber reason for the event remained on everyone’s mind.

Sam’s mom took the microphone and talked about how their lives had changed in the year since Sam’s diagnosis — and how her perspective on everything had changed irrevocably.

“The stuff I used to care about,” she said, “before this ..event that changed our family.” As an example, Lanzetta recounted how a few days ago, Sam had taken a pen from her purse and drawn pictures on the leather seats in her car.

“I can tell you how I would have reacted a year ago and it would not have been good,” she said. “But now immediately my first thought was,’ Oh look at that! He’s drawing pictures of Grandpa and they’re representational drawings with arms and legs and if he … goes, I have that drawing. That’s my perspective now,” Lanzetta said, breaking down. “It’s a wonderful perspective to have and I hope everybody has it. That’s my goal. Everything is important.”

Lanzetta said the number of people stepping up to be shaved and the turnout fot the event today had her “blown away….overwhelmed with happiness.”

Maggie the Barber from Haircutters of Love Lane in Mattituck and Heather from Heather’s Salon in Greenport wielded the electric shavers and “Sam’s Heroes” were sheared two at a time, seated on stools in front of a giant Superman versus Batman mural created by First and South resident chalk artist Kara Hoblin.

SoutholdLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti (Last two photos courtesy of Chatty Allen)


Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.