ROGERS PARK — Amy Kelly of Rogers Park won't just shave her head to raise money for childhood cancer research Saturday in Jarvis Square.
She'll do it for the memory of her brother, Sean Kelly — a lover of children and a staunch supporter of the St. Baldrick's Foundation — who was killed in 2010 when the small plane he was traveling in crashed into the ocean on the way home to California from a Mexico surfing trip.
"My brother Sean was a fun guy. He loved life. He lived to the fullest and he gave back in any way, shape or form possible," Kelly said of her brother, who was 44 when he died.
To carry on her brother's "legacy," Kelly said dozens of supporters will be shaving their heads for Jarvis Square's third annual St. Baldrick's event from noon-6 p.m. Saturday, which is also the day her brother would have turned 48.
So-called "shavees" collect donations prior to shaving to benefit the foundation, which raises money for childhood cancer research.
"Each year it’s gotten bigger — this year’s gonna be pretty big," Kelly said, adding that Jarvis Avenue would be blocked off for most of the day and a large, heated tent — with a beer garden — would be set up on the pavement.
Sean Kelly was a Chicago-area native and avid surfer who lived in Hermosa Beach, Calif., with his wife Laura Mani-Kelly.
"I love [the event] because Sean was really a caring person," said Mani-Kelly, who plans to travel with nine of her friends from Hermosa to Chicago on Friday ahead of the festivities. "It brings everyone back together."
Her late husband told her he wanted to shave his head every year for St. Baldrick's, she said.
Now the growing event, which brings together hundreds, would be exactly what he would have wanted, she said.
Renee Labrana, owner of Jarvis Square's R Public House, shaved her head alongside 33 others last year.
"It’s rather electric, but it’s such a positive vibe and everyone’s just so happy for everyone else," she said of the event.
Taste Food and Wine co-owner Linda van Amerongen will shave her head into a mohawk Friday for a TV news promo, then finish off the rest of the hair Saturday.
The 58-year-old breast cancer survivor said shaving her head was a way for her to repay the help she "got so much help from so many people" when she was diagnosed 16 years ago.
"I’ve seen everything they have all gone through," she said of cancer sufferers and their families and loved ones. "It’s a chance for me to give back."