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Firefighters get haircuts for charity

The New Mexico Firefighters Event for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation which raises money for childhood cancer research will be held on Sunday, March 11, at the Santa Ana Star Center (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Every January, Aaron McDevitt forgoes getting his hair cut.

The firefighter usually keeps his hair closely cropped because of his job.

Yet, for nearly three months, he grows out his hair in order to get it shaved for charity.

McDevitt is one of dozens who participate in the New Mexico Firefighters Event for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

The event has been raising money to help fund research to find a cure for cancers affecting children.

It features firefighters, police officers, EMTs and others throughout our community shave their head in solidarity to these young warriors.

The original event began in Albuquerque in 2007 but has been held in Rio Rancho since 2010.

McDevitt has participated for 10 years and on Sunday at the Santa Ana Star Center, the event will mark its 11th anniversary.

“I have a real passion for children and I’m a big kid at heart,” he said. “Hearing about the event really tugged at my heartstrings. These children are having to battle a terrible disease.”

This year’s goal is to raise $40,000. As of Friday, the teams have raised nearly $22,000.

McDevitt said there are 79 participants signed up to get shaved and 14 teams.

In 2017, there were 120 participants who got their heads shaved. There were 18 teams who raised more than $69,000.

“Every year, we have a handful of women that cut and shave their hair,” he said. “That’s a big deal. Being a guy, it’s not that big of a deal. These women are phenomenal for doing this.”

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McDevitt said the event will also have a technical rescue challenge.

“It’s a statewide event and we like to get other departments involved,” he said. “The technical rescue is to draw in some of the other fire departments in the state.”

WHEN: Noon-4 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Santa Ana Star Center, 3001 Civic Center Circle NE, Rio Rancho

The Town of Bernalillo Fire Department Firefighter, Andrew Chaves of Rio Rancho, gets his mustache shaved off by Angela Miller of Rio Rancho during the New Mexico Firefighters Event for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in March 2017. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)