Two years ago, Peter Gulli had to say goodbye to his best friend, business partner, and the man he looked up to more than any other. That man was his father, Dominic, who passed away after a long battle with prostate cancer in 2011.
“He was my best friend. I was at his ankles since I was a little kid,” Gulli said. “It was a long battle. It was difficult to watch not only your father, but your best friend and your business partner has to go through what he went through.”
Gulli, a Southington native, is hoping to help others so they never have to go through the same hardship. His salon, peterdominic, is teaming up with Saint Francis Hospital to hold a fundraiser on Sept. 13 at its 895 Queen St., location. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute — which specifically addresses the prevalence and disparities of prostate cancer among men who are uninsured or underinsured.
The fundraiser runs from 5-7:30 p.m. and will feature raffles, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and deals on hair and spa packages as well as a chance to meet Mrs. Northeast Galaxy 2014/Mrs. Connecticut 2013 Lori-Ann Marchese, who stars on the reality television series, “Game of Crowns.” Entrance into the event is $40.
Marchese is proud to take part in the event.
“I’m extremely happy to be a part of this event. Cancer has touched the lives of far too many, including Peter and his family. Peter and his entire team at peterdominic’s are doing something really special by trying to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer. It’s truly an honor to help him and the cause,” she said.
With the exception of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. The American Cancer Society estimates that 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed, and nearly 25,000 men will die from the disease this year. One in every seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, with one in 36 dying from it.
Gulli, a master stylist, is willing to show his commitment toward raising awareness of prostate cancer by giving up something he loves — his hair. To show his appreciation to those who lend their support to the cause, he will shave his head at the event. The last time that happen it was his father who held the clippers, when the salon was still under the iconic name, Mr. Joseph’s. Dominic Gulli started Mr. Joseph’s in 1970. In honor of his father, Peter rebranded Mr. Joseph’s to include both their names, and even carried out his dad’s dream of opening a full-service salon.
“He started training me when I was 14, and now I’ve been doing this for 28 years. My father was the best hair stylist I have ever encountered; he won the World Championship in 1983. He used to always say that he wanted to open up what he called a one-stop shop. He always wanted a place where you could come in and get everything you wanted. Before he passed away, I told him that I would not fail him and that I would carryout his dream. So in January, when we closed the doors on the old establishment and opened the doors to a new beginning, it was tough. But it’s what he would have wanted,” Gulli said.
If he is able to reach the $2,000 fundraising mark by Saturday, Aug. 30, Gulli has vowed to perm his hair and leave it that way before it comes completely off two weeks later. Sure, he said a perm isn’t an ideal look for him, but he’d be happy to embrace it if it helps raise the much-needed money to assure someone else doesn’t have to travel the same difficult road as his father.
“Cancer plagues pretty much everybody in one way or another. For just about all of us there has been someone in our life who has had to battle the disease. Anyway we can help in the fight, whether it’s prostate cancer or whatever it may be, we want to help. We all need to help. Every penny counts,” Gulli said.
Tickets can be purchased at both peterdominic salon and spa locations (Southington and at 4 Wilcox St., Simsbury). Donations can also be made directly to the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute by visiting SaintFrancisDonor.com.