Community members shave heads for charity
Emily McConville | Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Junior Kat Stultz said she first heard about The Bald and The Beautiful her freshman year, when some friends donated their hair to raise money for cancer research and treatment. That was when Stultz, whose friends and family have experienced various forms of cancer, began to think about participating.
“My best friend Patrick lost his friend Neil at age 19 to leukemia, and ever since then I’ve wanted to do something in his honor and to help combat pediatric cancer,” she said. “On the older end of cancer, a very dear friend and theology professor, Mr. Scurro back home, had pancreatic cancer last year and thankfully won that fight.
“My mom also lost three of her good friends within the past three years to various forms of cancer, so I want to be in solidarity with all of them and show my support in the various fights, even if they didn’t necessarily win it.”
Stultz passed on participating the next year because her hair had not yet grown to the eight inches required for donation. On Thursday, however, Stultz will become one of hundreds of participants in The Bald and The Beautiful when she shaves her head and donates the hair.
The event, which takes place today, tomorrow and Friday in the Sorin and Dooley Rooms of the LaFortune Student Center, raises money for the St. Baldricks Foundation, which funds cancer research, and the pediatric ward of Memorial Hospital of South Bend, according to its website. Hair donations go to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which makes wigs for cancer patients.
Freshman Erich Jegier, who also participated in the Gentleman Auction on March 26, benefitting benefitted a foundation that funds childhood cancer research, said he decided to shave his head because it was a visible way of raising awareness about cancer.
“I like the fact that it raises awareness,” Jegier said. “I’m the kind of person who can take a risk and put myself out on the line and do something that’s a little bit crazy, just so that people notice it.
“I feel like awareness is something that’s overlooked as far as service goes. You can be focused on raising money, but the service is futile if nobody knows where that money is going to, and awareness can be just a huge aspect because long-term it provides lots of benefits.”
Many students participate through a club or dorm, or hear about the event through their friends. Freshman Daniel Pedroza said he heard about The Bald and The Beautiful through a member of the Notre Dame Glee Club, who was encouraging fellow members to sign up.
“All these questions started popping up, like what would my parents think or what would it look like … I found myself debating with myself about whether or not it would be a good idea,” he said. “It was yesterday when I decided that I found it silly that I was doing that debate, the fact that I was going to make a choice about it, because I started thinking about the people who don’t get a choice. They don’t get to choose. They don’t get any say in the matter.”
According to its website, the event, now in its fifth year, raised more than $40,000 in 2013 and donated more than 400 inches of hair. Stultz said in addition to the $10 registration fee, she is hoping to raise $500, soliciting donations from family and friends and through social media.
Jegier, who is getting his head shaved Friday night, said he hopes to raise more than $250 from his friends and family.
“Since it is on a Friday evening, I’m hoping to get a big turnout with my friends and instigate a lot of donations then,” he said.
Stultz said though she will miss things like French-braiding her hair, she is excited to be raising awareness about the struggles of having cancer.
“Something that I’ve been learning through the various experiences with cancer in my life is how special and precious the gift of life is, and how everything that we have can be taken away at any moment,” Stultz said. “So the small sacrifice of giving up my hair for all of these people who are going through much bigger battles than I am is just to be able to be in solidarity with them is what I’m hoping to get out of it.”