\u2014 Corey Sabia photosThere are not many people who willingly go bald, but Thursday night about 50 young and adult men and one young woman wore T-shirts that proclaimed Go Bald or Go Home as they waited to get their heads shaved at Wilton High School. It was the school\u2019s annual St. Baldrick\u2019s event, a fund-raiser for the organization that proclaims it is \u201cshaving the way to conquer kids\u2019 cancer.\u201d As of March 16, more than $23,000 had been raised so far online. Donations may still be submitted to stbaldricks.org \u2014 search Wilton High School. Students at Wilton High School began raising money for St. Baldrick\u2019s in 2009, when 28 heads were shaved, bringing in $17,458. To date, including Thursday, a total of $184,361 has been raised with 528 heads shaved. It seems to be contagious, with several participants receiving pins for having their heads shaved three or four times. Two such students are Johnny Maggio, a junior, and Ian Filaski, a senior, members of the event\u2019s leadership team. They had been working towards Thursday evening for four months or so. \u201cI\u2019ve been doing it four years,\u201d Ian said. \u201cIt\u2019s a lot of fun. It\u2019s like a school tradition.\u201d \u201cIt\u2019s an honorable cause,\u201d said Johnny, who was waiting for this third shave. \u201cIt\u2019s a good opportunity to get involved.\u201d Both said the only bad part is feeling cold when they go outside. \u201cYou\u2019re easy to pick out of a crowd,\u201d Johnny said with a laugh. \u201cBut it\u2019s nice to be identified that way.\u201d Returning to support the students was Tim Becker, a member of the Wilton Class of 2011, who is now working as a strategy consultant in the pharmaceutical industry. He led the event in 2010 and 2011 and took his place in line with the other \u201cshavees.\u201d \u201cIt\u2019s just a remarkable thing to come back here and see how this has grown into such a wonderful event,\u201d he told the students. \u201cWhen you shave your head you send a simple and powerful message\u201d of support to children who lose their hair due to chemotherapy, he said. He encouraged them to be proud of their \u201cscalps.\u201d \u201cEveryone knows, everyone sees, and everyone is thankful.\u201d A special guest of the evening was Tim Kenny, co-founder of St. Baldrick\u2019s and a Wilton resident for the last two years. The enterprise started as a joke, he said, as he and two friends relaxed in his backyard in July 1999 after a round of golf. \u201cI said, \u2018life is good. Let\u2019s give something back,\u2019\u201d he said Thursday. He noted one of his friends \u201chad a mop of blond hair and one had a mop of red hair and I was bald.\u201d They planned an event for the next St. Patrick\u2019s Day at one of their favorite watering holes, Jim Brady\u2019s in Manhattan. They lined up 17 fellows to get their heads shaved, figuring they\u2019d raise $17,000. Instead, they raised more than $100,000. Since then, the St. Baldrick\u2019s Foundation \u2014 which is not named for a real saint \u2014 has raised more than $300 million and there are more than 1,000 head-shaving events each year in every state and 28 countries. After expenses all the money \u2014 which is 71 cents for each dollar \u2014 is given as grants for children\u2019s cancer research. The foundation funds cooperative research through the Children\u2019s Oncology Group, which has 232 affiliated hospitals. It has become the largest funder of children\u2019s cancer research after the U.S. government. \u201cIt has spread wildly beyond our dreams,\u201d Kenny said. It has spread because of people like the students losing their hair Thursday evening. Michael Hueglin, captain of the Wilton High ski team, said his team has a tradition of taking part in the event. \u201cIt\u2019s an opportunity to donate to an important cause,\u201d he said. A junior, he was waiting for his third go-round. How does it feel to be bald? \u201cIt\u2019s a unique experience. It\u2019s interesting and a lot of fun.\u201d Speaking before the shaving began, Chris Colbert said he was doing it as an \u201cact of unbargaining service,\u201d meaning he was expecting nothing in return. It was his first time and he was \u201creally excited. It\u2019s an opportunity to represent the school for a good cause.\u201d Although he also admitted he was \u201cvery nervous right now.\u201d \u201cPeople ask why you did it,\u201d said Owen McKessy, a junior. \u201cIt\u2019s an excuse to tell them about a good cause. To get the word out.\u201d One of the lead organizers, he participated last year, too. Along with the leadership team \u2014 Ian Filaski, John Gioffre, Johnny Maggio, Owen McKessy, Samuel Muirhead, Sean Purvis, Kyle Shifrin, and Zachary Verrilli \u2014 the event is organized each year by teacher Dan Pompa. Barbers for Thursday night included Gaetano and Gina Monteleone of Arena Hairstyling of Wilton, Gerald Ventrella and Sherry L. Grieco of Branchville Hair Design, and Kreshnik Komoni and Dawn Pazar of Agron\u2019s Barbershop of Wilton. Refreshments were provided by Planet Pizza of Norwalk, The Village Market, Wilton Pizza, and Pinocchio Pizza. Entertainment was provided by Connor Adams, Cameron Berg, Adam Harley, Maxton Santos, and Kyle Saxon. Karen Boehme provided medical support. The evening\u2019s program also thanked the high school custodial staff and Dana an Michael Mccreesh.