Firefighters shave heads

Published 9:15 am Friday, April 8, 2011

Kelly Stallard shaves her father, Kenneth’s head as her mom, Tracey, looks on. Kenneth Stallard and eight of his fellow firefighters in Suffolk shaved their heads as part of a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis prevention, which Kelly was diagnosed with at age 2. -- Merle Monahan


SUFFOLK—Nine Suffolk firefighters could be called the Slick Heads of Station 6 but for a few more strokes of the razor.

Eight cut their hair almost to the skin in support of their captain, Kenneth Stallard of Ivor, who also shaved his head and mustache to raise money for cystic fibrosis research.

Stallard, whose 15-year-old daughter, Kelly, has a mild form of the disease, promised to shave his head if the group raised $1,000 for the cause, and to shave off his 25-year-old mustache if they raised $1,500.

He even promised to shave his arms if they came up with $2,000.

The group, determined to see the mustache go, raised the $1,500. Their campaign worked so well that the final total was $2,250.

The “shaving” ceremony took place last week at Station 6 of Suffolk Fire and Rescue on Kings Fork Road. Kelly Stallard shaved her father’s head. But Stallard, with a little help from his wife, Tracey, reluctantly shaved his mustache, amid cheers and catcalls from his peers.

Finally, Tracey Stallard gave the others their haircuts.

This decision was made Friday morning, and most of the guys had not even told their wives, she said.

“I feel sorry for some of them when they get home,” Tracey Stallard said.

“At least I saw it happen,” she added, referring to the demise of her husband’s mustache. “The last time I saw him without his mustache was when we were dating, and Kelly has never seen him without it.”

Kenneth and Tracey Stallard discovered their daughter had cystic fibrosis when she was 2. After the initial shock wore off, they threw themselves into raising money for research.

Tracey Stallard, along with her mom Lorine Cook, Kenneth’s step-mother Judy Stallard and an aunt, Lisa Edwards, called themselves Kelly’s Angels. They entered the Great Strides Walk in Richmond to raise money. Soon, Tracey Stallard was asked to help initiate a walk in the Tidewater region.

The most recent walk was held Saturday in Virginia Beach.

“Kelly’s Angels raised $16,000, and money is still coming in,” she said.

Each year, the Stallards try to come up with different types of fundraisers, and Tracey Stallard sends letters soliciting donations.

The fire department has always helped raise money, but never tried anything this drastic before, she said.

So far, Kelly’s Angels, which has gone from four to hundreds of members, has raised more than $273,000 to help find a cure for the disease, which produces a thick mucus in the body, affecting the lungs and pancreas.

“Kelly does very well,” Tracey Stallard said. “Her case is mild, and she lives her life just like any other teenager.”

But Kenneth and Tracey Stallard will not stop working for a cure until there is a cure, she said.

“And progress is being made,” Tracey Stallard said. “A few years ago, the expected lifespan for a CF patient was 30; now it is from 39 to 40.”