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Event raises funds for St. Baldrick’s

Katie McCarty | Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In its fifth year, The Bald and The Beautiful event will attempt to shave more heads and collect more donations for cancer research than ever before, senior Betsy McGovern said.

McGovern, who is one of five head organizers for the event, said the charity fundraiser set for April will raise awareness and funds for cancer patients.

“The event began four years ago, when a student named Sam Marks came to campus,” McGovern said. “He came as a freshman knowing he had cancer. He left after a semester, and then later passed away. The Bald and Beautiful was started in Duncan Hall, Sam’s residence, in memory of him.”

A group of freshmen in Marks’ class served on the Freshman Class Council and brainstormed the event, McGovern said, and the event has grown substantially from its start.

“There are three different organizations that we donate to, and depending on how you participate in the event, your money will go to a different organization,” McGovern said.

The first way an individual can participate in the fundraiser by shaving his or her head, McGovern said. Traditionally, this option is more popular among males but in years past, the number of women participating has grown. Last year, 10 girls shaved their heads, McGovern said.

“The people that shave their heads raise money in whatever way they want, “McGovern said. “Many contact family and friends; some even go around campus with a jar and ask students for donations.”

All the money from the head shavings goes to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a childhood cancer charity dedicated to finding cures for children with cancer. Last year, the event raised nearly $50,000 for the charity.

Students can also participate in The Bald and The Beautiful by buying hair extensions. Students can buy a strand or more of hair extensions, and the proceeds are donated to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, McGovern said.

“Memorial has a close connection with Notre Dame, and a lot of students volunteer there,” McGovern said. “The funds we donate from the event help Memorial to build an outpatient pediatric cancer treatment center.”

The third option to participate in the event is through hair donation. The program requires eight inches of non-dyed hair that will be cut and donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a charity that constructs wigs for cancer patients who have lost their hair during treatment.

“This year, we are trying to expand the event,” McGovern said. “For example, we are trying to have an event with Memorial for the pediatric cancer patients around St. Patrick’s Day.”

However, the main event – head shaving and hair extensions – will happen on April 16, 17 and 19.

“We will have the front two rooms of LaFortune set up for the event, ” McGovern said. “A lot of groups come in throughout the day to participate, like sports teams. People can take initiative with regards to how they want to participate in the event.

McGovern said the event organizers are always looking for volunteers to accommodate the donators and donations.

“The end product is so amazing,” McGovern said. “We have raised nearly $150,000 for these organizations in the past four years, and this year we want to make the event even more amazing.”