PATERSON, NJ - For Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott service is all about giving back to the community, even if that means giving his hair...which at 47 years old, he joked, he hopes comes back.

On Friday, McDermott will, as he has done every year since 1997, shave his head in support of the St. Joseph’s Health Foundation's Cuts 4 Kids event to raise funds in support of the Valerie Fund Children’s Center for Pediatric Cancer and Blood disorders at St. Joseph’s Hospital. 

While the onslaught of COVID-19 means that any in person audience is limited, McDermott is hopeful the actual viewership, and therefore funds raised, will be bigger than ever thanks to the fact that it will be done on live national television as part of A&E’s Friday night episode of Live Rescue.

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“COVID-19 has caused us to take a backseat on so many opportunities to connect with the community, especially our children,” McDermott, who, every chance he gets, speaks about how important it is that he and his fellow firefighters are connecting with the residents they serve, whether that be through educational programs, firehouse events, or neighborhood gatherings. “While there are no firefighters better equipped to respond to any emergency than ours right here in Paterson, our goal is to stop fires before they start.”

Similar to so many other fundraising events in 2020, this one has also gone virtual, participants encouraged to donate the money they would have spent on a haircut to Cuts 4 Kids, and then challenge others to do the same. Those going bald are further asked to post pictures and videos of themselves “on the receiving end of a daring haircut” on social media along with #SJHCuts4Kids.

“We are incredibly grateful to have the loyal and generous support of Chief McDermott and the Paterson Fire Department,” said Robert Budelman, Chief Development Officer at St. Joseph’s Health. “Paterson’s bravest consistently support our patients and families at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, and we hope the entire community will join them in our efforts to increase funding for and raise awareness of pediatric cancer and blood disorders.”

“The last seven months have been difficult on all of us, but by working together we are going to come through this,” McDermott said. “Even after COVID has passed the children being cared for by St. Joseph’s will still be fighting these terrible illnesses. They are the real heroes and role models I look to for inspiration and strength.”

Live Rescue airs on A&E tonight at 9:00 p.m.

Click here to donate to Cuts 4 Kids or to take your own #SJHCuts4Kids Challenge.


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