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No hair up there:

students show up for a worthy cause

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 17:04

St. Baldrick’s is a non-profit organization that raises awareness about childhood cancers and fundraises to help fund research to find cures. According to the St. Baldrick’s website (, “Today, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government.” Western has had a strong relationship with hosting St. Baldricks events over the past few years.

The event was open to all faculty, staff, students and community members. Participants who made the commitment to shave their heads had to register online, and then, as the date of the event drew near, they could sign up online during a designated time slot. However, for those who wanted to sign up last minute on the day of the event, that was an option as well.

In total, there were 49 students, one faculty/staff member, and 15 community members or others who signed up on the day of the event. In total, the total amount fundraised for this year’s event was $5,500.

Senior communications studies major Vinnie Rolfness, who served as the event chair and also participated by shaving his head, helped run the meetings in preparation for the event 12 weeks prior, working with other RHA members to make the event possible, while continuing to maintain in contact with the St. Baldrick’s organization to be sure all steps were taken to put on the event and make sure it happened.

During the event, Rolfness made sure shavees got what they needed, barbers were taken care of and hair was cleaned up. Afterward, Rolfness worked with RHA president and lead treasurer junior psychology major Ashley Casebeer to make sure the money was taken care of.

Planning and running the St. Baldrick’s event took much consideration and, according to Rolfness, some of the things the team had to consider were finding the barbers, making sure legal agreements were signed, training all of the people who check shavees in, handle money and represent RHA during the program.

“Advertising before the event is a big part of making sure people show up,” says Rolfness. To advertise, posters sent by the organization itself were distributed around campus. In addition, social networking was used, as well as word of mouth.

Some may not see the importance of bringing such an event back, but to them, Casebeer says that this particular event “is becoming one of those programs that students and faculty every year want to see on our campus. You can go into this event just planning on watching and before you know it, you are inspired to shave your own head,” remarked Casebeer.

“I was greatly impressed with the outcome of this program. It was in a central location so people could sit and watch in between classes and then also participate if they wanted,” says Casebeer. “We reached our goal of 50 shavees and we are almost to our goal of $6,000. It was a really empowering event.” Rolfness added, “Any time you can bring over 100 students together to support something like this, I would call it a success. Fifty people shaved their heads at this event, including 15 women, which in itself is incredible.”

As impressive as the statistics are for such a small group, one might ask why even hold such an event, because the community might not be as big as others.

“When you see such a large amount of Wolves come together to support a cause, it is breathtaking. Seeing everyday people come together and support something like this speaks for itself.” Said Rolfness.

With so much to see the day of the event, Casebeer explained that her favorite part about the event was “seeing people’s faces the day of. They were so happy and filled with joy that it made everything we did worth it… and seeing people just stand up and do it because the committee needed more people to shave their heads.”

Due to work commitments for the summer, Casebeer could not shave her head, though she is considering doing it. But, why do it? Casebeer answers this in that one should talk to the people that have shaved their heads, “because they are the ones that will make you see the “light” or make you understand why you should do it. In the end, it is just hair and hair will grow back, whereas these kids that have cancer; their hair will not grow back.”


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