DU Goes Bald

March 28, 2017

By Joseline Cano

Eleven-year-old Lily Rooks walked up the stage ready to give up something that most young girls her age would never dream about giving up, her hair. Every year, 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide. It is the leading cause of death among children in the United States, yet only 4 percent of the National Cancer Institutes budget goes towards research into childhood cancer. But, thanks to organizations such as the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, children are being provided with research conducted by leading pediatric oncologists with the help of university campuses and the buzzling life within these institutions.

On Tuesday, March 21, students at Dominican, families, and local residents flooded through the doors of the Social Hall to sit and watch 13 participants and six volunteers shave their hair as an act of solidarity to children battling cancer. Stars In Action President, Moira Kennedy, said: “We started the St. Baldrick’s event, otherwise known as ‘DU Goes Bald’ on our campus last year. This was our second year doing this event. Our goal for our event is to raise $3,000 for childhood cancer research.”

Sophomore student Laila Mitchel, who participated in the event, said: “last year when I found out that Dominican was going to have a St. Baldrick’s event, I was able to see some of my female friends go up there. Shaving your head as a woman says so much because there’s such a beauty standards that’s tied up to the state of women’s hair. In me, that sparked something. It takes so much courage and bravery to go up there and lose a part of you. The wheels starting turning in my head. So for the past year, I’ve been telling myself ‘I’m going to shave my head’ and eventually I convinced myself that I was going to do it.”

Because of that bravery, Mitchel became the top raiser for Dominican’s branch of the fundraiser. Each participant of ‘DU Goes Bald’ pledges a goal to raise a certain amount of money for the organization. Laila become the top raiser after converting her $200 goal to an ending total of $1,135. “I reached my first goal within the first week and a half. So I bumped it up to $400, and I reached that as well,” Mitchel said. “Out of the blue, someone in my family donated a generous sum and got me to $800 and so once that happened, I was like, ‘Where do I go from here? I’m already at $800, I should bump that up to $1,000.’”

By evenings end, Stars in Action raised a total of $3,700 that night.

Throughout the night, participants and volunteers walked up to the stage with cheers following them from the supportive crowd. Some sat throughout the process with a smile on their face. Sophomore Raleigh Woodford and Mitchel bobbed their heads to the music, while other participants sat with an open mouth when they saw pieces of their hair fall in chunks. All in all, all individuals left the stage with a smile on their face, including Lily Rooks who went around hugging as many members of the crowd she possibly could after shaving off her hair because she thought: ‘Cancer has to stop.’

Some of the evenings participants were: Lily Rooks, Louise Moon, Laila Mitchel, Raleigh Woodford, Evan Beadleston, Patricia Schwed, Alec McKinney, Dominic Quigley, Ricardo Mendoza, Alecx Hernandez, Patrick Plewa and Steven Farrell.

canojose@my.dom.edu