The Celtic Ray in Punta Gorda hosted the inaugural Shave-a-Thon March 9, directly benefiting St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charitable organization that raises money for cancer research for children.

The event was organized by Ben and Kathi Haynie, who moved to Punta Gorda a year ago in April, bringing the worthwhile program to the area from Nevada.

The couple, their son Shaun and more than 25 other “shavees” participated in having their heads shaved during the event. Altogether between online donations and donations given during the Celtic Ray event, more than $18,500 was raised.

Everyone who shaved their head and raised at least $50, received a St. Baldrick’s T-shirt. The event included many raffle prizes and a 50/50 raffle, as well.

Special VIP guests included the Stolarczyk family: Brian, his wife Sarah and their children Raymond, 10 and Luke, 9, with young Luke being the honorary guest of the event. Luke was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in April 2013 at the age of 3, while the family lived in Wisconsin. He was in treatment for 3 ½ years, which is the standard for boys with ALL. He finished treatment in July 2016 and has remained cancer free. The family moved to Deep Creek in 2016.

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