Hundreds of students gathered in front of the Main Building on Sunday for Brave the Shave, a fundraising event during which students shave their heads in support of children with cancer.
At the event, participants raised money for pediatric cancer research and shaved their heads to help those with cancer feel less self-conscious about being bald. All proceeds from Brave the Shave will benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which focuses on finding cures for children’s cancer. The event was hosted by the student organization Students Making Impacts through Love & Empathy, or S.M.I.L.E.
S.M.I.L.E. was created in 2008 as a way to connect with the pediatric community specifically around healthcare, according to Madi Kirk, president of S.M.I.L.E. and social work junior.
“Brave the Shave was actually started by our first president who was really passionate about pediatric cancer,” Kirk said. “So now we have this event where hundreds of people shave their heads every year for pediatric cancer research.”
Every person that shaves their heads is required to raise $50, but most people raise more than that. The top fundraiser raised more than $10,000, Kirk said. Booths selling food and shirts also helped raise money.
Minji Kim, sociology junior and recruitment chair for S.M.I.L.E., said she got involved because she saw that S.M.I.L.E. could make a difference.
“I love how we can get so many people together to move for the same reason,” Kim said. “Brave the Shave really changed how I see the world. This is my second year doing this and I would do this until I graduate, and even afterwards.”
Many at the event shaved their heads in remembrance of family members who had cancer. Jennifer Henderson, history and linguistics senior, said she was motivated by her teammates of Texas 4000, a bike ride for charity, and more importantly, her grandmother.
“My grandma had cancer for 20 years and she had to be bald,” Henderson said. “If she can be bald not by choice, then I can have the choice to be bald and be in solidarity with all these children and adults who don’t have a choice.”
Architectural engineering junior Alex Shrode said he was nervous about shaving his head, but knowing he was benefiting a good cause helped him do it.
“I was really nervous right before, adrenaline was pumping, but it was so amazing to see all these people here supporting this organization and this cause,” Shrode said. “That’s what put my nerves to rest.”