Austin College student organization Rotaract will send nearly $6,000 for cancer research to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation after last week’s annual fundraising event. Participants can be readily identified—each decided to “Brave the Shave,” raising funds to have their heads shaved at the organization events.
This year, 13 volunteers shaved their heads in support of children’s cancer research. The event raised $3,694, plus $2,500 pledged by the Grayson County Rotary Club.
This was the 12th year Austin College students have taken part in the event. Rotaract members collected donations on campus as well those donations sought by the individual participants.
In addition to fundraising, the event’s resulting bald heads serve as an act of solidarity with kids who are battling cancer and have lost their hair through treatment.
Donations go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. Since 2000 when the organization began as a challenge within a group of friends, nearly half a million men, women, and children have shaved their heads and raised funds in solidarity with children with cancer. Events have been held in dozens of countries and all across the United States. Volunteers have raised more than $282 million.
Those who “Braved the Shave” last week at Austin College included faculty Bob Cape, classics, and Stephen Ramsey, business. They were joined by Claudia Theriot, Lily Harris, Linzie Hadzima, Caelie Morris, Saif Haque, Jacob Moreno, Sarah Straka, and James Olin. Local judge Brian Gary and his son Michael also participated. Michael is a survivor of childhood cancer and has been cancer-free for almost two years.
Eric Ross of the Sherman Rotary Club donated his time as the barber for the event.
Each year, one or two students donate hair to nonprofit organizations that create wigs for those in need.
Naadia Hannan was one of the organizers for this year’s event. She is the next president of Rotaract and looks forward to next year’s event and including additional barbers and stylists to allow more students to show solidarity.
Rotaract is the student arm of Rotary International. The groups bring young leaders together to work with communities, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun through service.
Austin College’s Rotaract members complete numerous service projects throughout the academic year. The group is sponsoring a Wheelchair Basketball tournament in conjunction with Greek Week to raise money for the Wheelchair Foundation.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.