By Rianne Coale
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity hosted and celebrated Loyola’s seventh annual St. Baldrick’s Day event by shaving off students’ hair, both guys and girls, in the Centennial Forum Student Union. With a number well over 100 participants and raising more than $24,000 for childhood cancer research, SAE exceeded every expectation they had set for themselves in helping the cause.
“Two to three hundred people signed up within the first two weeks of event registration,” said Pedro Guerrero, 20, a sophomore political science major and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. “We’ve surpassed all our goals in the way of getting volunteers and money donations, and it’s a great feeling to be supporting the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.”
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer based charity that is committed to funding research that helps find cures for childhood cancer. They team up with schools and other organizations to put on fundraising events, and the St. Baldrick’s Day head-shaving celebrations bring in a lot of donations. So far this year, St. Baldrick’s Foundation has raised over $20 million dollars and has had over 44,000 shavees.
“This is my third time shaving my head for the cause,” said James Wentz, 21, a junior theology major. “I work at an elementary school and encourage the students to do it someday because St. Baldrick’s is an awesome organization for trying to help people.”
Although there was a generous amount of participation from the student body on the final day of the affair, an event like this took quite a lot of planning and preparation. Tom Rouleau, 20, a sophomore English major and the organizer/chairman of the St. Baldrick’s Day celebration started planning this fundraiser in late September.
“I invited other organizations to join us for this event, and I set up the webpage with St. Baldrick’s Foundation where people could register online,” said Rouleau. “For the last few months I have been in charge of the promotional aspects of the event, finding entertainment, and booking the space in CFSU so we could hold the celebration.”
When the head-shaving began, crowds of students swarmed the stage as they watched their friends and complete strangers go bald.
“I’m here to support my boyfriend and friends,” said Khush Dalal, 20, a junior psychology major. “I think it’s really honorable and brave to shave your head in a society where it is sometimes considered a ‘big deal’ to do something drastic to your looks.”
Just after the festivities began, the fire alarm went off and the swarms of supporters were filed out into the street.
“Everything went smoothly, but I definitely could have done without a fire drill which left people with half shaved heads,” said Rouleau.
The minor setback didn’t damper the excitement of some of the participants though.
“I’ve been planning to do this since November,” said John Juranek, 22, a senior biology major. “I loved doing Relay for Life, and I couldn’t wait to support another cause that supports cancer research.”
Some participants decided to go bald for loved ones.
“I’m shaving my head to bring awareness to childhood cancer and for my grandma. My hair grows fast, so I plan to do it in years to come.” said Tyler Hough, 18, a political science major and SAE pledge.
A few Loyola students were participating by being in control of the clippers.
“It’s such a fulfilling experience to know that you may be changing someone’s life just by cutting their hair,” said Elise Navarro, 19, a sophomore business major. “I don’t think I have the courage to shave my head, but I am so proud of all the brave people who did it for the cause.”
The St. Baldrick’s Day celebration brought in more than just Loyola students.
“I tried shaving my head for this cause a few years ago and decided to do it again,” said Ronald Marmolejo, 60, a Rogers Park native. “By doing this, I am trying to improve the possibility of finding a cure for cancer, and it’s my way of thanking all the wonderful people who support me.”