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Students use weekend for service

Anna Gelhaus | Monday, April 19, 2004

The LaFortune Ballroom was transformed into a hair salon Sunday afternoon as members of the Notre Dame community said goodbye to their hair for Locks of Love and Shaved Heads Against Cancer.Locks of Love makes wigs for financially disadvantaged children with long-term medical hair loss. People can donate 10 or more inches of their hair to be used for the wigs; shorter lengths can also be donated to help to offset costs of the program. Junior Lindsay Schirack said she wanted to coordinate an on-campus event for donations to Locks of Love and asked the Class of 2005 to sponsor it. Schirack said she was quite pleased with the turnout of 136 participants, who donated a total of 1,411 inches of hair, just under 118 feet.”I thought 20 [people coming] would be successful,” she said. “But there were 20 people lined up before noon. It’s absolutely overwhelming.”Stylists from Atria 2 salon straightened, cut and packaged ponytails as a line wrapped around the ballroom. Participants were then given a card to come back to the salon to get a free styling.Donators had various reasons for giving up their long hair. But nearly everyone agreed they were donating because the hair goes to those in need. “It’s just a really good cause,” freshman Meredith Laux said. “I have a lot of hair and there are little kids who don’t have any.”Many donators were joined by friends, including Laux, whose friend Nicole Gonsalves did not have long enough hair to donate, but said she was “definitely here for the moral support.”Many donors feared how they would look without their long hair.”I’m kind of afraid of what I’ll look like with short hair,” freshman Erin Housing said. “But it doesn’t seem to be going bad.”Students were not the only ones to donate. Notre Dame librarian Meleah Ladd said she has been donating for years. “Every three or five years I will donate about 18 inches,” she said. “My cousin had cancer, and she decided to shave off her hair before it fell out and just donate it. So I cut my hair too.”Schirack said she would like to see the event happen on campus again. “We will be advertising again to grow your hair,” she said.Shaved Heads Against Cancer was simultaneously at work. It was started by a group of students at Notre Dame to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a cancer center in Boston. Sophomore Matt Goulet helped run the event as part of a challenge in his entrepreneurship class. He was joined in sponsoring it with other students, including sophomore Kathryn Finn and freshman Nick Duda. Participants in Shaved Heads Against Cancer collected pledges for the shaving of their heads. Goulet estimated approximately 20 men collected pledges for Dana-Farber and shaved their hair. “It’s sponsorship for the act of shaving your head. It is to show support for cancer victims and raise morale,” Finn explained. “We’ve had a great response.”Duda also had his head shaved. “A good friend of mine had cancer,” Duda said. “So I sort of did it for him.”