Students fundraise to find cure for cancer
Across Notre Dame’s campus, students are contributing more than money this week to find a cure for cancer.
According to co-chair Lindsey Paris, the Bald and the Beautiful raises funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research.
“Now in our eighth year as an event, The Bald and The Beautiful has raised nearly $265,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Memorial Children’s Hospital of South Bend,” she said in an email. “We offer head shaving, hair donations, and colored hair extensions. Our hair extensions come in the colors of different cancer ribbons, so students and community members can honor family and friends who have fought a specific kind of cancer. The extensions are 1 for $10, 2 for $20, or 3 for $25.
“All funds raised to shave heads supports the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, all hair extension purchases support Memorial Children’s Hospital of South Bend, and all hair is donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. This year, we are hoping to bring our total of funds donated to $300,000.”
Paris said the organization is hosting several fundraising events this year.
“Last Wednesday, we had our graduate student event at Legends. Students from the Law School and chemistry program, among others, participated by shaving their heads and donating their hair. We raised $900.86 at that event,” she said. “April 12, we hosted a baseball event at the Notre Dame versus Chicago State game. We haven’t totaled donations from that event yet, but we are looking forward to working with them in the feature.
“Our main event takes place April 13 through 15 from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. — [until] 8 p.m. on Friday — in LaFortune Student Center in the Dooley and Sorin Rooms. Students can register online at bald.nd.edu to shave their heads or donate their hair, and walk-ins are welcome for hair extensions.”
Paris said nearly six percent of the Notre Dame student body participated in the fundraiser last year.
“Our advisor, Dr. David Veselik, shaves his head every year in a large science lecture class. This year, he shaved his head in Jennifer Robichaud’s Parasitology class,” she said. “Each year, families from the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program at Memorial Children’s Hospital visit our event. This year, Dr. Michael Ferguson, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at Memorial, shaved his head to raise funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.”
Paris said the event is sponsored by University Edge, the Notre Dame College of Science, McGraw-Hill Education, the Notre Dame Club of the Tri-State, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Duncan Hall and Badin Hall.
“The stylists volunteering their time are from Great Clips, University Hair Stylists, Tru Salon-Spa, Cilantro Hair Spa and Bangs,” she said.
Sophomore Dani L’Heureux plans to part with several inches of hair Thursday.
“This is an important cause to support because everyone who has gone through or is currently facing such a difficult disease like cancer deserves to be recognized and shown support from as many people as possible,” she said.
“This event means the world to me because in a few weeks will be the one-year anniversary of my mom being told she’s cancer-free. She’s the strongest influence in my life and her strength during her battle inspires me every day. I’m cutting my hair and raising money in honor of her and cancer fighters and survivors everywhere, as well as those who have lost their battles.”
Senior Morgan Faley, who cut off eight inches of her hair Wednesday, said The Bald and the Beautiful is “a wonderful event that benefits great causes.”
“They welcome monetary donations, but also allow people to cut their hair without having to donate. Since many of us are college students on a budget, this is a great way for students to support the cause and make an impact,” she said. “It’s always fun to see everyone’s reactions to seeing their ponytail after its cut off.”
Sophomore Paul Stevenson said this was his first time participating in the fundraiser.
“I’ve never had a buzzcut and the thought of getting one last year was terrifying, but this year it was something I was considering doing all semester,” he said. “I cut off as much as I had. Not sure the exact length. It wasn’t enough to donate — minimum eight inches — but it was 10 solid months of work without haircuts.”
Stevenson said he has a personal interest in the fundraiser.
“Being from Memphis, Tennessee, home of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, I’ve seen firsthand the impact that positive cancer research can have,” he said. “Additionally, my cousin was diagnosed with leukemia several years ago, but with the help of St. Jude, he survived and is perfectly healthy now. If doing something as simple as cutting your hair can make a difference like that, the choice is easy for me. It’s the least I could do.”
Sophomore Sara Dugan said she is attempting to cut off nine inches of her hair for the fundraiser.
“The Bald and the Beautiful is fantastic because it unites the student body behind a cause that means something to everyone here. The event means a lot to me because of the people in my life who have been affected by cancer and other diseases related to hair loss. It takes incredible strength to survive through a life-threatening illness,” she said. “It’s the least I can do to chop off some of my hair to support them. It will grow back.”