Buzz cuts for a cause

By on August 15, 2014

Elburn resident, Dave’s Barbershop to hold fundraiser for childhood cancer research
ELBURN—Nolan Allen recently shaved his head, and he’s hoping he’s just the first of many Elburn residents who will shave it all off at “Cuts for the Cure,” a benefit for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds research into childhood cancers.
Allen will hold the fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 16, at Dave’s Barbershop, 132 N. Main St., Ste. 1.

“Cancer is a monster,” Allen said. “We want it to be stopped.”

It’s an emotional subject for Allen, a fifth-grader at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School. He recently lost his uncle, Craig Larson of Batavia, to lung cancer. And a family friend is also battling brain cancer right now.

“We’ve had cancer affect us in a dramatic way,” said Julie Allen, Nolan’s mother. “His focus is on how we can help people with it. So when he suggested it, we just ran with it.”

He’ll be sporting his shaved head in the Elburn Days Parade on Friday night and passing out flyers and candy to advertise Saturday’s event. He hopes hundreds of people will come out to get their heads shaved or to donate to the cause, he said.

The cuts will be offered by Dave Rissman, the owner of Dave’s Barbershop in downtown Elburn, for a minimum $10 donation to St. Baldrick’s Foundation. People are also welcome to donate to the cause without getting a haircut, and they can do so online or in person, Julie said.

“It’s not going to be regular haircuts with scissors. It’s basically buzz cuts with clippers,” Rissman said.

Nolan hopes that by holding Cuts for the Cure during Elburn Days, many local residents will stop by to support the cause on their way to Lions Park. Many students also need back-to-school haircuts right now, Rissman added.

“On a national level, St. Baldrick’s fundraisers are generally held in September, but we decided to do this one before school starts so that people could bring their kids in for a cut,” Rissman said.

St. Baldrick’s sponsors head-shaving events around the country to raise money for a cure, but the organization also notes that shavees show their support for cancer patients by voluntarily shaving their heads.

Nolan is a member of Elburn’s Cub Scout Pack 107—his den has named itself the “Robot Ninjas”—and he hopes many of his fellow Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will come out to get a buzz cut.

Nolan’s goal is to raise at least $1,000 for St. Baldrick’s at the event. Though $10 is the minimum donation for a haircut, people are welcome to donate more, he said.

“Whatever somebody donates to St. Baldrick’s will be great,” Nolan said. “Our goal is $1,000. But you know what would be ‘amazeballs’? $3,000 or $4,000. I think I would need about 400 people to raise that much, but I’m not going to get my hopes up, because Elburn is a very small town. But that’s what I’m hoping for.”

Though Rissman anticipates more men than women will participate, he said that if anyone came in with long enough hair, he’d donate it to Locks of Love.

“I do foresee the possibility that some young girl might come in and get her hair shaved off, and I’m not going to let that hit the floor,” Rissman said. “We’ll collect that for Locks of Love and send it off, a two-for-one deal. We might not get any of those people, because it’s got to be at least 8-to-9 inches.”

No matter the length, the buzz cut will be an Instagram-able moment, Rissman said.

“I do a stripe down the center of their head first,” Rissman said. “It makes for a great photo op.”

Julie urged people to come out and support the cause.

“It only takes five minutes to stop in and donate $10,” she said. “People don’t even need to get a haircut. It’s just five minutes out of your day. We’ve got families here in Elburn whose kids are suffering (from cancer). It’s not just supporting Nolan; it’s supporting all those people (with cancer).”

A number of other local residents will be volunteering at the event, including Danielle Stombres, Colleen Bergeson, Amy Mallers, Stacy Ashton, Meghan Nesci and Ocean Ashton.

Though the Allens originally approached Rissman about doing Cuts for the Cure on the sidewalk outside his shop during, he volunteered his shop instead.

“I said, what if it’s a 90 degree day? What if we don’t have enough chairs? And so I donated my shop. You know, me and my big mouth,” Rissman said with a laugh.

Rissman has done a number of similar fundraisers, including one last year for St. Baldrick’s at the Tilted Kilt in Roselle, Ill. He said he’s hoping hundreds of people will come out to support the cause and get a free haircut.

“We’re hoping for many people,” Rissman said. “People are calling in and making reservations for this to be done, and there will be a ton of walk-ins, too. We won’t turn anyone down.”

He doesn’t anticipate long lines because buzz cuts are quick to do, he said.

“For me, I can knock them out in two or three minutes. You gotta remember, I have a couple years of experience,” joked Rissman, who has been a barber in Elburn for 50 years. “Come out and support it, and make it a financially worthwhile event for the cause.”

Appointments are not necessary, but those who would like to make one can call Dave’s Barbershop at (630) 365-6288. To donate to Cuts for the Cure online, visit