Students and staff shave their heads for St. Baldricks (50 photos, video)

Students+and+staff+shave+their+heads+for+St.+Baldricks+%2850+photos%2C+video%29

Glenda Marshall

Freshman Courtney Corbett shaves off her hair. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press
St. Baldricks volunteers shave off freshman Courtney Corbett’s hair. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press

Surrounded by a sea of green shirts, freshman Courtney Corbett smiled nervously as three volunteers raised clippers to her head and shaved off her waist length hair.

Foothill staff, students, parents, police officers, and firefighters all gathered to watch as Corbett’s tresses fell to the floor, but the most important member of the audience was skyping in on an iPad positioned on the corner of the stage. Corbett’s father, who was diagnosed with cancer on Sunday, watched from his hospital bed as his daughter cut off all her hair in his honor.

“It was surreal,” Corbett said. “I mean I don’t even know half of these people and they are all taking pictures with me and it’s pretty awesome that everyone’s so excited when I didn’t think it was going to be this big of a deal.”

 

 

Corbett was one dozens of volunteers who shaved their heads in Foothill’s second ever St. Baldrick’s fundraiser.

The St. Baldricks Foundation is a nonprofit organization that funds research in order to find cures for childhood cancer. One way the Foundation fundraises to achieve its objective is by holding head-shaving events where participants collect money from family and friends and then shave off their hair.

Though Corbett considered cutting her hair when she first heard St. Baldricks was coming to Foothill, she didn’t think she was going to buzz her head. After her father’s diagnosis, however, she decided to go completely bald.


Credit: Aysen Tan, Josh Ren, & Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

 

“I feel like you get more when you give,” senior Kristina Garcia said. “It means I am fighting with them […] I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

 

Mr. Perfect shaved off his hair. Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press
St. Baldricks volunteers shave off Mr. Perfect’s hair. Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press

 

 

In total, Corbett raised $4,182.35 for St. Baldricks. The event itself raised $21,600, meeting the goal of $15,000 necessary to make Spanish teacher Steven Perfect and English teacher Yiu Hung Li shave off their shoulder length hair.

 Li and Perfect were among six other members of Foothill staff who shaved their heads. Justin Frazier, Ryan Duston, Rick Villano, Kurt Miller, Joe Bova, and Melanie “Captain” Lindsey also buzzed off their hair.

 The event was particularly important to Lindsey who brought the first St. Baldricks fundraiser to Foothill in 2010. Lindsey was inspired by her student, Stephanie Bower, who was diagnosed with spinal and brain cancer when she was in sixth grade.

 “Her senior year, when she was my student, was her first year that she was chemo free and she was the most amazing human being,” Lindsey said. “One of her treatments was researched and created because of St. Baldricks so I decided you know what I am doing this for Stephanie so that less kids have to go through what she went through.”

 

 

Lindsey said that, in the weeks leading up to the event, she was afraid this year’s fundraiser would be a failure.

“Up until last week, the money wasn’t coming in, nobody was signing up and I was like ‘this is going to be a failure, we aren’t going to make much money,’ but then this week it just exploded,” she said.

As the event came closer, students began donating more and more money and a number of students decided to sign up. At the actual event, 74 people shaved their heads.

Senior Kristina Garcia was one of the 74 and said that the experience was incredible.

“I feel like you get more when you give,” senior Kristina Garcia said. “It means I am fighting with them […] I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Students also had the option of cutting and donating their hair to Children With Hair Loss (CWHL) if they did not want to shave their head.

One of these students was sophomore Bailey Liljekvist whose father was recently diagnosed with cancer.

“I was going to shave it but my parents wouldn’t let me,” Liljekvist said. “Everyone in this organization [St. Baldricks] is so passionate and once everyone in ASB learned about it we all just got really involved.”

Though she was hesitant at first, senior Anna Cogswell also opted to cut her hair.

“As I was sitting in that chair I just pictured this little girl who needed my hair,” Cogswell said. “I just thought that I could make her feel like a princess, so how could I not do it?”

As more students shaved their heads and cut their hair, the positive environment inspired other students to join in as well. Loud music, balloons, and streamers reminded volunteers of the positive impact they were making for kids facing cancer.

Corbett said that the best thing about St. Baldricks is the support it gives to sick children.

“Cancer sucks, especially when you are a kid and to know that some random person is supporting you and shaving their head so that you don’t feel so awkward and alone; I think that is the greatest thing ever,” she said.

Credit: Kazu Koba, Emily Chacon, & Bridget Parrino/The Foothill Dragon Press

St. Baldrick’s 2014 from The Foothill Dragon Press on Vimeo.

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