Morstead to shave head, beard for children, cancer patients

New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead (AP Photo/Patric Schneider) Show caption
New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

Saints punter Thomas Morstead’s advocacy for children and cancer patients will continue Saturday, when he’s set to shave his head and beard at an Irish pub in Mid-City.

Morstead is participating in the St. Baldrick’s Day block party at Finn McCool’s Irish Pub in the 3700 block of Banks Street in New Orleans, the Pro Bowl punter’s charitable organization announced Friday. The event’s purpose is to raise awareness for childhood cancer, and he is expecting to buzz his hair and beard off about 2 p.m.

Participants are sponsored, and Finn McCool’s has already raised more than $71,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity that is said to fund more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization with the exception of the U.S. government.

This is the fourth consecutive year Finn McCool’s has hosted a St. Baldrick’s Day event, a news release from Morstead’s organization said. The pub’s goal is to be able to make a $100,000 donation.

Morstead’s initiative is named “What You Give Will Grow,” and its main missions are to raise funds for cancer patients and help children. Morstead became passionate about those causes in part because he grew up in a tight-knit family and because his mother survived a breast cancer diagnosis when he was younger.

This is vividly illustrated by his friendship with Madison “Madi” Adams, a teenaged Covington girl who’s been battling leukemia. Morstead has helped raise money for her, and he’s donated blood while encouraging others — such as Saints fans — to do the same.

Morstead has said he got the idea to shave his head when he was at dinner with former Saints safety Steve Gleason and his wife, Michel, prior to the start of New Orleans’ 2011 training camp. Michel remarked that Morstead’s hair had a similar texture and thickness to her husband’s, who had grown it out and donated it several times.

Following their conversation, Morstead, who hadn’t cut his hair since 2010, made the decision to wait to snip it until the conclusion of the 2012 season so he could donate his hair to Wigs for Kids. That organization makes wigs for children who have lost their hair, usually due to chemotherapy.

Morstead’s hair this year is not long enough to donate to Wigs for Kids, but he still signed up for St. Baldrick’s Day.