Saints punter shaves head for charity

Thomas Morstead had a simple identity. He was an NFL player with hair down to his shoulders so that he looked like he could have been playing bass in a Scandanavian metal band.

But the New Orleans Saints punter found a cause, and on Saturday had it all cut off in order to raise money for a children’s cancer charity called the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Morstead got the idea from the wife of Steve Gleason, the former Saints special teams player who battles Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Morstead told WDSU-TV in New Orleans that Michelle Gleason encouraged him to grow out his hair for the purpose of shaving it for the charity, just as her husband had done.

“I said, ‘Well, hey, there’s a great excuse for me not to cut my hair and do something for good,” Morstead told WDSU.

Head-shaving events are a big part of St. Baldrick’s fundraising efforts. According to its Web site, St. Baldrick’s has hosted more than 1,200 head-shavings this year, raising more than $20 million.

“Because kids with cancer often lose their hair during treatment, ‘shavees’ for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation show their support by shaving their heads voluntarily, and inspiring friends and family to donate money to support childhood cancer research,” the site reads.