A group of New Trier High School students decided to pay it forward on March 16, electing to shave their heads in the annual St. Baldrick’s fundraiser hosted by the Cancer Awareness Club.
All of the money raised is donated to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-powered charity that funds research to find cures for childhood cancers. The individual head-shaving events are entirely organized by volunteers and this event is one of a few that the Cancer Awareness Club holds each year to raise money.
“I just think it is a really good cause to support. I kind of wanted to shave my head anyway, so I thought why not do it for a cause that matters?” Hannah Shushunov, a New Trier senior told DailyNorthShore.
Shushunov was one of 12 students nervously awaiting their turn in the school cafeteria at the Winnetka campus. A professional hairdresser shaved one teen at a time on a stage as The Red Hot Chili Peppers blasted music in the background. Fellow students cheered on the brave souls who decided this year they would shave their heads for a good cause.
The Cancer Awareness Club is a student-driven club that meets on a weekly basis and holds various fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for cancer and awareness. “We run it, we organize it, and we are actually shaving,” Amanda Stiffler, co-chair of the club, said about the event.
Like other students shaving their heads this day, Stiffler donated about 14 inches of hair to Locks Of Love — an organization that uses donated hair to provide hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children who suffer from hair loss for medical reasons — before shaving her head. “I’ve really wanted to shave but never thought I would go through with it,” she said. This year Stiffler decided to shave her head, after a good friend’s mother died from cancer.
Stiffler said the club hopes to raise about $15,000 with this event. Students wore t-shirts saying “Go Bald or Go Home” and pins stating “Rock the Bald.” Newly shaved students circulated around the cafeteria asking for donations. Julia Peterson, a senior, received warm hugs from friends after shaving her head. “I feel liberated. It is a lot of time and getting out of your comfort zone asking for money. The support of my peers is awesome,” she said.