WESTBROOK — Life became a lot less hairy Saturday for some Maine public safety workers.

More than 20 police officers and other emergency workers and family members from across Maine volunteered to go bald at the Westbrook Police Department’s “Brave the Shave” event at Riverbank Park to raise money for childhood cancer research. Even Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts sacrificed her mane for a bald pate. Before she went under the razor Roberts said she was apprehensive but she knew she had to do it.

“What kind of leader am I if I am not willing to be uncomfortable for a few months?” said Roberts, anticipating an itchy head as her hair grows back.

The folksy event attracted about 150 people, including employees of the Maine State Police, the Kennebec County jail, Falmouth Police Department and a good sampling of Westbrook officers who dined on hot dogs and hamburgers, listened to music and watched as the volunteers had themselves liberated from their locks.

The event raised $22,177 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation in Monrovia, California, which is second only to the U.S. government in providing money for childhood cancer research. Twenty-two participants agreed to get their heads shaved for the cause.

Kellan Tilton, 5, of Detroit, who was born with neuroblastoma, was a special guest.

“This is pretty cool,” said Kellan, whose spinal tumor left him permanently paralyzed. He uses a wheelchair to get around.

The event was organized by Westbrook police Officer Jaci Lorenzen, who thought a shave-in would not only benefit a good cause but also bring together the public safety community.

Eleven Westbrook officers signed up for the shave, four of them females.

The haircuts were provided by Top Cuts, a Westbrook salon owned by Ginny Ayers of Gray.

“A lot of these guys are my customers,” Ayers said.

Kennebec County corrections officer Lian Oyerbides of Augusta was the first to get her head shaved. She said she was more exhilarated than nervous.

“Everyone knows someone who has had cancer,” she said.

As her dark hair fell to the ground, the crowd cheered her on.

Jim Fahey, a retired South Portland police officer who was the deejay, noted that he had always heard that working in public safety is a lifestyle.

“Well today it is a hairstyle,” Fahey said.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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