Hundreds of students cheered as participants “Braved the Shave” this past weekend in front of Gregory Plaza.
“Brave the Shave”, hosted by Students Making Impacts Through Love and Empathy, allows students to shave their heads in order to raise awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research. All proceeds from the event go toward St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest childhood cancer research organization in America apart from the U.S. government.
Event coordinator Aarthi Srinivasan, a psychology junior, said the organization has already raised more than $36,000.
“Our participants help us get the most money,” said Srinivasan. “We have profit shares and fundraisers throughout the year, but it’s this event that makes the most difference. One girl, Jasmine Bell, raised $4,500 all by herself.”
Srinivasan said her past experience with Texas THON, another student-run philanthropic organization, inspired her to organize the event.
“Children with cancer appreciate life so much,” Srinivasan said. “My freshman year in college, I met a little girl named Heaven. She had a brain tumor and she really opened my eyes to how much we need to help children who have cancer. They are the happiest and strongest kids you will ever meet, but a lot of them are struggling really badly. I want them to excel in life and receive better treatments.”
Event committee member Thomas Anthony, an electrical engineering sophomore who also participated in the event, said his grandfather’s battle with cancer motivated him to shave his head.
“I’m dedicating this to him and everyone who is fighting cancer,” said Anthony. “This really is a special event to me. It’s raised over a million dollars during the past seven years.”
Helping to organize the event was not easy, Anthony said.
“Shaving your head is a big commitment,” Anthony said. “It is hard to find participants, but we get our volunteers from (Students Making Impacts Through Love and Empathy). We’ve also been planning this for over a year. Personally speaking, I was scared to do it at first, but now my head just feels really cool.”
Neuroscience senior Kyrsten Kawazoe, who participated in the event, said she has always believed in helping others.
“I have donated my hair five times already,” said Kawazoe. “I was nervous to do it at first because I’ve never been bald, but then I realized that it’s just hair. It’s going to grow back. What I am doing right now will be more permanent.”