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OU service fraternity to shave heads, raise money for childhood cancer research at event

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St. Baldrick's

A student receives a hair cut from a classmate in a photo illustration. Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity will host an event in November on the South Oval in support of childhood cancer awareness in which volunteers will be shaving their heads.

One of OU’s service fraternities will be hosting an event on the South Oval in support of childhood cancer awareness in which volunteers will be shaving their heads.

The co-ed fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, will hold this event for their philanthropy, St. Baldrick’s, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m on Nov. 3.

St. Baldrick’s is an international charity whose funds go toward childhood cancer research. The hair that will be shaved will be donated to St. Baldrick’s, who then distributes the hair to other organizations that can make wigs out of donated hair, Josh Cook, St. Baldrick's treasurer, said. 

The hashtag #baldisbeautiful has been used on social media in months leading up to this event to get the message across, and the use of social media has even inspired people to volunteer, said African American Studies and human relations junior Jessica Caldwell.

“This event is to show kids that they’re beautiful either way … and to stand in solidarity,” said Leslie Morales, Alpha Phi Omega's vice president of service.

Standing in solidarity with children going through cancer means that those who volunteer to do so will do as another popular hashtag for this event says and that is #bravetheshave.

In 2012, a former member of Alpha Phi Omega, senior Kitty Raadschelders, shaved her own head and was among 30 other volunteers who did the same that year.

“I got a lot of confidence in it, and for myself, … it makes you see your inner beauty, and its just such a great cause,” Raadschelders said. “It was fun seeing my hair in all the different stages when it was growing back.”

Caldwell is planning on following in those footsteps come November, along with several of her friends, including one that is traveling from out of state to join her, she said. She has already done a lot to fundraise and spread awareness.

For example, she wears a button that says “every three minutes” that is supposed to provoke conversation, since every three minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer in the United States, Caldwell said.

Alpha Phi Omega’s main cancer awareness event, though, is the head shaving itself, and witnessing other people shave their heads attracts many volunteers the day of, Caldwell said.

Cook said he hopes to provide an example for those interested in volunteering.

“Maybe if I do it, someone else will be brave enough to do it as well,” he said.

This will be his second year shaving his head and looks forward to doing it again, Cook said. 

While Morales will not be shaving her head, she will be cutting 10 inches off to donate, and she is eager to do so as well.  Some people are more attached than others when it comes to their hair, because for some, if not most, their hair is part of their identity, Morales said, that’s why it can be hard to cut so much off. 

On the other hand, Caldwell said she is curious to see where her donated hair will end up, and is looking forward to wearing beanies and seeing her scalp for the first time.

The first thing she wants to do after her head has been shaved is to take a picture with the hashtag #baldisbeautiful, Caldwell said.

This article was corrected on Oct. 29 at 11:08 a.m. to reflect that Josh Cook is the St. Baldrick’s treasurer, not Alpha Phi Omega’s executive board treasurer.

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