Students Shed Hair To Make Others More Aware
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The yearly tradition of shaving heads for a cause returned to campus last weekend.
The Evans Scholars say they hope the shaven heads, accompanied by buttons that say “Ask Me Why I’m Bald” and “Conquer Childhood Cancer,” will help spread awareness for St. Baldrick’s Day.
This is an annual fundraiser dedicated to funding childhood cancer research that was started in honor of Devlin Gray, an Evans Scholar who graduated from Marquette in 2013 who battled cancer as a child.
“If everyone in the Evans Scholars House shaved their heads, people would notice,” Brad Degarmo, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said. “A lot more people than just them do it, too.”
While the cause is not a happy one, the event functions like a party. People rejoice and cheer each other on as they sit in the ominous barber’s chair and await the roaring razors. Fast-paced, contemporary music bumps loudly. People socialize, laugh and talk with each other. Some try their luck in raffles for items like Chicago Blackhawks jerseys and footballs signed by the entire Green Bay Packers roster.
“We’re trying to raise awareness for childhood cancer research, but we love to keep it fun and lively,” organizer Maggie McPike, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.
The food is also a major attraction of the event. McPike said Wings Over Milwaukee provided discounted rates for the massive order of buffalo chicken wings the event requires. Insomnia Cookies also provided 125 cookies to the event free of charge. Besides these options, there are also volunteers who grill burgers and hot dogs, rain or shine.
“Last year, we had to grill in the snow,” Ivan Reyes, volunteer grill-master and sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said.
Reyes was pleased this year when St. Baldrick’s Day fell on a gorgeous 60-degree Saturday. Using a charcoal grill, he spent 11:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. churning out so many burgers and hot dogs he lost count. Reyes believes this is one way he can contribute to a noble cause.
“One little action today can make a huge impact tomorrow,” Reyes said. “It’s like they always say, you gotta ‘Be The Difference.’”
Reyes went above and beyond his grilling duties by also getting his head shaven. Reyes’ shaving was broadcast by his friends on Facebook Live. During the shaving, Reyes received a donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation from a friend requesting that he shave his beard. Reyes obliged to this request.
Reyes was one of many who had his head shaven that afternoon, including a freshman in the College of Nursing, Brian Kettering. Kettering drew a crowd when he got his thick locks sheared off to support the cause.
“I’m feeling good,” Kettering said. “I’m sad to see the hair gone, but you have to think about what it’s for, not what’s actually happening.”
Kettering hopes the shaving will help him show his support when he works at Camp Kesem over the summer. Camp Kesem is a summer camp for kids who have parents with cancer. Kettering feels close to this cause because his mother had cancer when he was growing up.
“That’s kind of what this whole thing’s about, showing solidarity,” Kettering said.
Over the past six years, the event has raised over $100,000. The Evans Scholars plan to continue the event next year.