The students who shaved their heads for CU’s first St. Baldrick’s Day are not copying Britney Spears, nor are they trying to start a new spring fashion trend.
Organized by the Herd Leadership Council, 116 students shaved their heads Wednesday at the St. Baldrick’s celebration at the UMC fountain. Cheering students crowded the fountain as they watched the shavees’ hair fall to the floor. The non-profit organization, St. Baldrick’s, started in 2000 as a way to raise funds and awareness for kids with cancer.
If You Go
What: St. Baldrick’s Day
Where: The Republic of Boulder, 1095 Canyon Blvd.
When: Saturday, March 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Why: Help raise funds and awareness for children with cancer
“Bald heads all over the place speak loudly,” said Amy Shannon, a junior integrative physiology major and event coordinator of CU’s St. Baldrick’s celebration. “By doing it on campus, we’re getting the word out.”
Colorado is hosting 16 events, two of which are in Boulder. This is Boulder’s third year participating in St. Baldrick’s Day. In addition to CU’s involvement, the Republic of Boulder will be holding an event on Saturday, March 17.
Carolyn Walker, a local resident who lost her son to cancer, spoke at Wednesday’s event and will join other speakers at the Republic of Boulder on Saturday.
The St. Baldrick’s organization has raised over $20 million in seven years, all of which goes towards helping cancer research. Cancer is currently the No. 1 disease killer of U.S. children.
“A lot of people don’t think about children in terms of cancer,” Shannon said. “They mostly think of adults.”
Tiffany Rosen, a junior integrative physiology major and member of the Herd Leadership Council, proposed the idea of bringing the St. Baldrick’s event to campus. Rosen was one of the seven women who shaved their head Wednesday.
Shannon said the Herd raised around $7,000 at Wednesday’s event. St. Baldrick’s is a unique fundraising event because the participants can continue to collect donations afterwards. Walking around with a shaved head is one way the St. Baldrick’s organization hopes to pique people’s interest and get them to donate money to the cause.
“Head shaving is a lot more of a lasting effect,” said Mike McGoey, Boulder’s St. Baldrick’s event organizer. “It’s effective for weeks after because people are curious.”
Another woman shavee was junior anthropology major Lillian Soderman. Soderman attracted a large crowd of friends and family. Her mother flew in for the event and her brother was watching from Soderman’s laptop. Friend’s cheered and shouted “You look so beautiful,” and “You’re hot,” as Soderman shaved off nearly 10 inches of hair.
“I’ve been wanting to shave my head for a really long time,” Soderman said.
Soderman raised $1,370 and said she was expecting $400 more later in the day. Although the majority of the hair shaved at St. Baldrick’s events is too short to donate, Soderman was able to donate her hair to Locks of Love.
Soderman said her main inspiration to shave her head came from a song by India Arie, “I Am Not My Hair.” Soderman posted some of the lyrics on her St. Baldrick’s online profile: “I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.”
“There are social stigmas with women,” McGoey said about women who shave their heads. “Their commitment is a big one.”
Shannon worked closely with McGoey, who originally brought the event to Boulder. McGoey, Boulder’s St. Baldrick’s event organizer for the past three years, reached out to the CU campus when he heard about the Herd’s involvement. In addition to the Herd Leadership Council, multiple student groups helped with Wednesday’s event or had members shave their heads. These groups include the lacrosse team, College Students Against Cancer and Asian Unity.
The last two St. Baldrick’s Days have attracted about 50 to 60 CU students, McGoey said. There are 205 people signed up to get shaved on Saturday with a large turnout from CU. Members of the Air Force and Navy ROTC, Asian Unity, the Multicultural Business Student Association, the Diverse Scholars Program and much of the Greek community will be getting shaved on Saturday.
The Republic of Boulder’s event has already raised $52,000 and will have raised $100,000 by they time everything is done, McGoey said. Businesses like Whole Foods and Montbel will also be participating. And if you like to extend more support to cancer patients, you might want to shop to provide cancer support here.
“Police officers, middle schoolers, you name it, we got it,” McGoey said about the people who take part in Boulder’s St. Baldrick’s Day.
McGoey recalled the first time he shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s while still living in Virginia. The after effect was very humbling, he said.
Sitting on the UMC fountain steps, McGoey watched students stand in line for their haircuts. He called what CU was doing “Guerilla Shaving.”
“Grabbing people out of the crowd is really effective,” McGoey said. “There are a lot of people who jump in out of nowhere and want to get their head’s shaved.”
Sophomore Sage Grey, a pre-journalism major, decided during class to shave his head. Yelling to the crowd, he asked how much they would give him to shave his head. Grey shaved his head for $30, but said he hopes to raise more.
“The spirit of selfless giving brings a lot of positive energy with it,” McGoey said.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Jenny Bergen at email@example.com.