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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

‘8 or 8’ Community asked to donate funds, hair

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

“It was named because like it’s unfortunate that they lost hair, but it’s our fortunate choice to give back, so that’s where the name ‘Fortunate Choices’ came from,” Michaela Drake, Urban Scholars vice president and junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

The Urban Scholars hosted their fifth annual Fortunate Choices event last Thursday. Community members were asked to donate “8or8” $8 or 8 inches of their hair to Children With Hair Loss. Participants also wrote letters to kids at the Children’s Wisconsin. Monetary and hair donations will be accepted until April 30.

“We just want to make a difference for children who are experiencing hair loss because that’s part of someone’s identity and helping restore that sense of normalcy is really important….,” Elsa Sanchez, Urban Scholars vice president and senior in the College of Nursing, said.

Children With Hair Loss provides human hair replacements free of charge to young adults and children experiencing medically-related hair loss. In 2021 the organization were able to donate 571 hair replacements across the United States. Twenty-two of those recipients are from Wisconsin.

Former Urban Scholar and 2017 Marquette alumnus Carina Belmontes started the event after losing her grandmother to cancer during her junior year of college.

“Fortunate choices is such a special event because not only does it allow for people to donate their hair but it brings so much awareness to the issue. Even if it’s 1 degree, 2 degrees, 3 degrees away that you know someone who suffered from cancer, it’s not just the patient, it’s their family, it’s their support system everyone goes through it,” Carina Belmontes said.

Carina donated her hair for the third time, but she wasn’t the only member of the Belmontes family that donated. Her sister, Clarissa Belmontes also donated her hair.

I think I really decided to cut my hair because I get the chance, like it’ll grow back, but there are some people that aren’t as fortunate as I am. So the fact that I’m able to help them feels great,” Clarissa Belmontes said. 

Clarissa and Carina’s mom, Gloria may also donate next year. She said that if every Urban Scholar brings one person to donate their hair she’ll shave her head.

I know it may be a little hard for some scholars, but I think if one person cuts their hair and I shave my whole head it’s to make wigs for kids with cancer that need it,” Gloria Belmontes said. (This quote was translated from Spanish to English)

She said that it’s great the Urban Scholars are putting on this event to raise awareness about what cancer patients and their families go through; something the Belmontes family have first hand experience with.

The family member suffers, the family suffers and especially for a woman losing your hair is something very difficult, it’s a part of their personality. And the people that are alright and healthy they have the option to help someone who has cancer, they’re the only ones lucky enough to be able to help,” Gloria Belmontes said. (This quote was translated from Spanish to English)

Abigail Rose, first-year in the College of Arts & Sciences and Urban Scholar, was one of the planners of the event and said her interactions with Carina were why she wanted to get involved.

It meant a lot to (Carina), so being the first one to know about it meant a lot to me cause I’m the only one who can pass information off so I ended up planning the event and it’s a big part of my life now,” Rose said.

Besides helping cancer patients and their families Rose said it gives more of an insight into the Urban Scholars program.

As Urban Scholars we’re supposed to be bringing awareness to injustice against stuff like that in the community and this an event, not only for us to bond as Urban Scholars but bringing in the community and showing them that there’s more to Urban scholars than just the academic side,” Rose said.

Those who wish to donate their hair or money can do so in Coughlin Hall room 125 until April 30.

“It’s nice to see people come out, make a difference, donate, and make cards. Every part of what we’re doing here is going towards making that difference in change and we appreciate all the support that we get,” Sarika Nembhard, first-year in the College of Nursing and Urban Scholar, said.

This story was written by Megan Woolard and Sarah Richardson. The can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected] and on Twitter @MeganWoolard4

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About the Contributor
Megan Woolard
Megan Woolard, Managing Editor of the Marquette Tribune
Megan is the Managing Editor of the Marquette Tribune at the Wire. She is a Senior from Portland, OR studying journalism and English literature. In her free time, Megan enjoys collecting CDs. She is a huge fan of the Portland Trailblazers. This year Megan is looking forward to spending time with other staff members and producing important content. 

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  • D

    DJApr 13, 2022 at 11:30 am

    Scholar Elsa Sanchez, Scholar President…not Vice…excellent article though!

  • C

    Carina BelmontesApr 13, 2022 at 10:19 am

    Thank you for sharing our story…spreading awareness is what it’s all about! #8or8 #FortunateChoices