Opinion: Local Young Women Make a Difference

Cortlandt resident Deb Carlin Polhill praises the contributions made by three young woman in the community.

There are people in this world that choose to use their energy for the benefit of others.  There are people that choose to weave positive threads from tragic circumstances. Such is the case with three local young women who collectively decided to make a difference - for the better.

Lauren Shortt searched for a way to pay honor and tribute to her precious younger sister Cait Chivonne Polhill, who passed away on Oct. 9, 2011.  Lauren's good friends, Lauren and Caitlin Brady, had recently established the "This Is Me" College Scholarship Fund.  The Brady duo had decided that these scholarships would be awarded in honor of Cait Chivonne and Ryan Risco, who had also passed in July, 2011.  

The Brady's created "This Is Me" to raise awareness of alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss and baldness.  Once they established the college scholarships, they chose to take the opportunity to honor their late friends.

Shortt decided that the perfect tribute she could pay to her dear sister, would be to shave her head as an act of love and honor, while helping to further raise awareness of alopecia.   CurlsforCait.com was then launched to capture donations from supporters of Lauren's brave and beautiful tribute and it was decided that she would shave her head at the Carnival Fundraiser to benefit "This Is Me," which was held on Aug. 17. 

Supporters, friends, family and community leaders streamed into the Carnival at the Brady residence.  Local singer/songwriter Tim Murphy performed and Pete Peterson DJ'd.  Local businesses including; The Quiet Man, Bertoline's, Colonial Terrace and Ruben's, donated food and drink.  As the rain began to pour heavily, the music stopped and folks were asked to gather under the tents for shelter.  Shortt took her place in the tall chair, donned a smock, as was kissed on each cheek by Lauren & Caitlin Brady.  They each cut one of the two pony tails on her head to begin the process.

Everyone began to chant "Shortt, Shortt, Shortt!". As the Brady women shaved lock of hair, after lock of hair from her head, they called upon her husband, Brendan, to finish the job.  Brendan quickly stepped up, took hold of the shaver, and masterfully completed the task, much to the crowd's delight! Throughout the cutting of her hair and shaving of her head, Shortt maintained a beautiful and beaming smile.  Everyone was struck by her elegance and beauty.  To date, CurlsforCait.com has raised over $3,500, and the site is still accepting donations through September. 

The trio has since appeared as guest bartenders at The Quiet Man Public House in downtown Peekskill.  “This Is Me” realized another huge success that evening as supporters poured into the pub to hear world renowned Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfe Tones perform a myriad of Irish tunes, much to everyone’s delight.  All tips received went straight to the scholarship fund.

The “This Is Me” Scholarships are awarded to local college bound students that have displayed leadership skills while facing and overcoming adversity of any kind during their life experience, or helping someone else to do so.  Learn more at www.facebook.com/thisismefoundation.

Deb Carlin Polhill October 04, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Congratulations to these young ladies! My daughter Lauren is still sporting her shaved head and the Brady women continue to expand the good work of "This Is Me." As we approach the first anniversary of my daughter Cait Chivonne's passing, we are ever grateful for such inspired actions that shed more light throughout our community, and ultimately throughout our world. Thanks to Rasheed at Patch for printing this piece, particularly at this time.
Rachel October 04, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Wonderful work ladies. Its great to see so much community support for the project!


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