On April 8, American Cancer Society Youth (ACSY), hosted the annual Shave-a-Head event at University High School (UHS). ACSY, a chapter of the American Cancer Society (ACS), raises funds and promotes awareness for cancer research and the needs of cancer patients. For the sixth consecutive year, ACSY organized the Shave-a-Head event at the crossroads, where 25 female students had their hair cut a minimum of 8 inches and 20 males, including teachers, had their heads shaved entirely.
UHS ACSY also raised $1,365 through the Bald Cap fundraiser. Several teachers had set an amount of money for their classes to raise over the last few weeks. If their respective class met the fundraising goal, teachers wore a bald cap for the entire school day on April 8. Participating teachers included Mr. David Knight (Science Dept.), Ms. Katie Levensailor (Science Dept.), Ms. Shannon Bunch (Science Dept.), Ms. Michelle Raitt, Ms. Sachiko Galassetti (Science Dept.), Ms. Susanne Fitzpatrick (English Dept.), Ms. Nicole Bradshaw (Math Dept.), Mr. Kevin Kasper (Science Dept.), Ms. Rebecca France (DHH Dept.) and Ms. Katie Addiss (English Dept.) Within two days, Mr. Joseph Huber’s (Science Dept.) classes raised $231.11. Mr. Michael Granger’s (English Dept.) classes collected the most amount of money, raising approximately $520.
For the first time, professionals from Salon One cut and shaved students’ and teachers’ hair. The hair will be directly donated to ACS’s partner and nonprofit organization, Pantene Beautiful Lengths. The Beautiful Lengths program has sent over 24,000 wigs to the ACS’s wig bank. According to Pantene, around six or more ponytails are needed to assemble one wig for a cancer patient. While only a woman’s hair is used to create wigs, men often shave their heads to show their support for cancer research and awareness. The ponytails are dyed in the same color to customize a wig for a specific patient. ACS distributes donated wigs for free through its multiple Wig Banks to cancer patients nationwide.
A returning participant at the Shave-a Head event, Libby Sun (So.) said, “We tend to forget and take even the littlest things for granted. Just the fact that I have hair that can make someone else happy gives me a reason to donate. I have been donating hair for 4 years now, but this school fundraiser encourages a wider population of people to do the same.”
UHS staff members, including Mr. Granger, Mr. Tim Smay (Science Dept.) and Mr. Huber participated in the Shave a Head event. Mr. Smay said, “I’ve had students pull out of my classes before, either because they themselves have gotten some form of cancer or they have had to take care of their family because a loved one has been stricken by the disease. I figured this was my very small contribution to help find a cure. I have friends in the biotech industry, and there are promising leads in finding a cure, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in my lifetime.” Mr. Smay’s class exceeded its fundraising goal of $75 by raising $360 for ACSY. Sharing a personal connection to ACSY’s cause, Mr. Huber said, “I decided to participate because my grandfather died of cancer when I was in high school, and both my mother and my mother-in-law have battled cancer. I have also had countless students over the years whom have had family members or friends battle cancer. Cutting my hair as a sign of support and opportunity to raise money for a great cause seems like the least that I can do.”
Although the UHS ACSY club was formed in 1988, it first began organizing the Shave-a-Head event six years ago. This year’s Shave-a-Head event was the most successful in terms of participation and fundraising. UHS ACSY Vice President Nitya Bhardwaj (Jr.) said “We do this event annually, but this year in particular was the greatest turn-out we’ve had so far! I’m grateful to go to a school that is willing to show so much support to raise money for cancer awareness and research.”
Written by KRUTHI REDUCHINTALA