Joy to be Bald fundraiser still going strong after a decade

Raising funds and awareness for community members facing cancer
By Fran Gonzalez | Oct 09, 2019
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Lori Mayer's son Mike Mayer and her grandson Lincoln, along with Terry McNeal, begin buzzing her head at the Joy to be Bald fundraising event Oct. 6.

Liberty — This year marked the 10th anniversary of Joy to Be Bald, an event that raises money for people battling cancer.

Last year on the day of the walk-a-thon, there were downpours and people asked organizer Lori Mayer if it would be postponed.

Mayer responded, "Cancer doesn't get postponed."

What began in 2010 as a dare between Lori's Café owner Mayer and a patron who offered to donate money to a mutual friend if Mayer agreed to shave her head, has grown into an annual event to offer financial assistance to locals fighting cancer.

The event still bears the name of the original recipient, Joy Mehuren, who succumbed to lung cancer in 2011.

According to a Joy to be Bald press release, "In 2015, the group was again heartbroken by the loss of friend and member of the JTBB team, Kelley Ripley, who had valiantly battled breast cancer."

The event continues to raise awareness and funds for community members facing all types of cancer diagnoses.

This year, it took place over two days and featured mac-n-cheese and whoopie pie competitions at Lake St. George Brewery on Saturday, with music by Cami and the Rogues. A cancer survivor herself, singer, keyboard and fiddle player Cami Jewett of Liberty was a recipient of Joy to be Bald funds in 2016.

In the winners' circle, Ryker Tower took first place in top mac-n-cheese, followed by Carol McGovern and Nancy Bartlett, respectively.

Whoopie pie winners included Britney Mayer taking first place, Kathy Pauley second and Tina Cook in third place.

About 25 people took part in the annual walk-a-thon from the tower on Pinnacle Road to Lori's Cafe on Route 3, offering scenic fall vistas of Lake St. George from Stickney Hill.

Bruce Lovely of Belfast, a five-year cancer survivor and also the 2014 recipient of the organization's fundraising, has taken part in the walk several times and said last year, in the rain, there were more people.

The first year after his recovery, Lovely said, he could only get as far as the hill, but this year, he had no problem finishing the trek.

Sonja Abbott of Belfast and Debbie Dinsmore of South China, owner of Branch Pond Flowers & Gifts, will benefit from this year's fundraising events.

A JTBB auction at Liberty Community Center was lively, to say the least, with the event culminating with Mayer and Lake St. George Brewery owner Danny McGovern shaving their heads to benefit JTBB.

Community members sample whoopie pies and mac-n-cheese behind Lake St. George Brewery before voting for winners Oct. 5. The event was part of the 10th annual Joy to be Bald fundraising effort. (Courtesy of: Joy to be Bald Facebook post)
Approximately 25 people took part in the Joy to be Bald fundraising walk-a-thon Oct. 6. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Lake St. George Brewery owner Danny McGovern, after having his head shaved himself, gives event organizer Lori Mayer a buzz cut at the Joy to be Bald fundraising event Oct. 6. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Many community members and businesses provided items to be auctioned off at the Joy to be Bald fundraising event Oct. 6. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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