For many women, their hair is the defining element that helps them feel beautiful. As for others, including men, it’s an accessory or a part of their personality that helps them feel whole. So what about those who don’t have hair due to hair loss as a result of cancer treatments?
Student Karen Hernandez organized a head-shaving event at Los Medanos College late last spring to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a childhood cancer research organization. She helped raise more than $3,000 for St. Baldrick’s, more than her original $1,500 goal, with the help of the 33 men and women who participated and had their heads shaved on May 14.
The event began with a powerful message from Hernandez, who was the first to have her head shaved.
“This event has personal meaning to it because I know what it’s like to lose my hair,” said cancer survivor Hernandez to the crowd. “I didn’t feel pretty.”
As the clippers started to buzz she teared up but smiled through the haircut as the crowd cheered her on.
“They’re happy tears” she joked as her family watched from the side.
Her message helped set the mood for others, and even inspired even those who hadn’t planned on cutting their hair, to participate.
Several participating professors helped gather a crowd. Each teacher set a different financial goal for him or her to meet in order to shave his or her heads. All the goals were met and each staff member saw their locks fall to the ground.
Astronomy Instructor Scott Cabral, who had his head shave, even made a donation so that he could see Drama Instructor Nick Garcia shave both his head and beard. Garcia had set an extra goal to shed his beard.
“Shaving your head is a sign of solidarity and it’s for a good cause,” said Speech Instructor Kasey Gardner.
A variety of people showed up to support the event from faculty and staff to students and cancer survivors.
Clarissa Ford, a cancer survivor, also went to support the cause.
“It was hard going through that as an adult, so it must be hard for the children,” said Ford. “It’s a wonderful cause.”
Student Trustee Deborah van Eckhardt had her head shaved and recalled a time when she was in college helping someone through a difficult treatment.
“You look at life and see the things that are important,” she said as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” played in the background, a song that reminds van Eckhardt of her experience.
Hair stylists from Latinos Hair Salon cut the participants’ hair. They also helped raise money with raffle tickets as well as the food and drinks being sold.