When Amy Atwell of Gerry was appointed as one of the team captains for the recent American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event at SUNY Fredonia's track, she decided to get her church, the Gerry Free Methodist, involved in raising funds. She first approached the youth pastor, Larry Petry, and he agreed to have his head shaved if the congregation could raise $1,000.
Senior pastor David McCarthy and his associate, Jeff Bellinger, then accepted the challenge to join the hair shaving if the total reached $2,000. That amount was soon pledged by the congregation and, on a recent Sunday, Julie Prittie of Julie's Style Salon in Gerry shaved all three pastors' heads on the church lawn between services.
Atwell, who is a nurse practitioner, said she is delighted with the response as her team of 24 people raised more than $7,000 of the more than $78,000 total, thanks in part to the cooperation of her church and its pastors. The Relay for Life is a 12-hour annual event that celebrates those who have defeated cancer with all proceeds benefitting the America Cancer Society.
The pastors of the Gerry Free Methodist Church had their heads shaved to raise money for cancer research. From left: Larry Petry, youth pastor; David McCarthy, senior pastor; and Jeff Bellinger, associate pastor. Julie Prittie (center) of Julie’s Style Salon in Gerry did the shaving.
Pastor Bellinger said he hopes that when people see their bald heads, they will remember to pray for and support those who are fighting or have fought cancer and didn't have the good fortune that he had to choose to lose his hair.