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Canton fifth grader to shave head to raise money for cancer treatment

Posted by Dave Eisenstadter  March 22, 2013 02:17 PM

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buzz1.jpgEleven-year-old Griffin Lincoln will lose his hair in June, but he looks forward to displaying his bald head with pride.

Griffin will participate in the One Mission organization’s Kid’s Cancer Buzz-Off in Gillette Stadium on June 9.

“If I can raise money for kids who have no hair, I might as well give up mine,” Griffin said at his home in Canton Thursday. “They have no choice and I have a choice. It will grow back. It may take two months, but still it’s worth it.”

Griffin plays whiffle ball and hockey, plays Xbox, and draws comic books. An only child, he also enjoys spending time with his family’s 8-month-old puppy Kirby.

But he also has experience with loss.

Griffin’s short, brown hair sat messily on his scalp is he described how he came to know about cancer. His grandfather, Joe Molinari, succumbed to the disease in 2011 at the age of 68.

Griffin was close to his grandfather, who would always bring him surprises like chocolate chip cookies or iced tea.

“My mom said one day, ‘Oh, your grandfather has cancer.’ I said, ‘That stinks; how can I help?” Griffin said.

After he died, Griffin collected candy for Dana Farber in Boston. Molinari would always sneak his grandson a few treats from the candy dishes when he came to visit.

It was through that effort he learned about the Buzz-Off and participated for the first time in 2012, raising more than $5,000 in the process.

For Griffin, who organized bake sales and wrote letters to local businesses, the best part was handing the money over to One Mission.

“It was definitely a moment that I’d never felt before,” he said. “Mostly I felt happy and proud of myself and my mom and dad.”

Griffin Lincoln with momThe day he got his head shaved, Griffin met New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Griffin described him as a nice guy with very big feet. He gladly displayed the signed football he got from Gronkowski at last year's Buzz-Off.

Griffin’s mother Susan Molinari said she was proud of her son, and that he had given to charity since the age of 3.

“He’s always had empathy for other people,” she said. “He’s an old soul in that way.”

Molinari fought back tears as she described her son’s efforts to honor her father, and Griffin walked over to give her a hug.

Walking the halls of John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Canton, Griffin said he learned the truth of one of his coach’s pieces of advice: “Chicks dig bald guys.”

“Everyone in school asked to feel my head – teachers in the hallway and everyone in my class,” Griffin said of his experience last year. “They said, ‘Congratulations, you look good bald.’”

The only downside was that his head got cold at night, and he wore a cap to bed.

Griffin had his own advice: “Don’t be afraid to shave your head; don’t be afraid to help other people.”

In its previous two years, the Kid’s Cancer Buzz-Off has raised nearly $1 million, according to a One Mission spokesman.

To support Griffin’s participation, visit his page at the One Mission website.

If he raises $5,000, selectman Gerald “Sal” Salvatori has pledged he will come to Griffin’s classroom and let Griffin shave his head as well.

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