Record-breaking hairstyles

Kate Bigam

Local fraternity raises money, sets new record to fight cancer

Katie Galloway, freshman public relations major, has her shoulder-length hair shaved off by Jasons’ Barber Shop employees during Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity’s Cancer Fighters and World Record Breakers fundraiser. Galloway decided to shave her head in memo

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

More than 200 Kent State students will be sporting the exact same hair cut today. They’re not a cult. They’re not even part of a fad. They’re part of a record-breaking fundraiser.


228 heads shaved by a group of London barbers within four hours.

272 heads shaved by employees at Jasons’ Barber Shop within four hours.

And they’re fighting cancer, one hair follicle at a time.

Yesterday, Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity hosted Cancer Fighters and World Record Breakers, an event designed to raise money for the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center and raise awareness of the plight of cancer patients, while at the same time trying to break the world record of “Most Heads Shaved.”

Guinness World Records lists the current record-holders as a group of London-based barbers, who shaved 228 heads within four hours. Yesterday, five employees from Jasons’ Barber Shop blew that record out of the water, shaving 272 heads in the same amount of time.

“It’s going to take awhile to sink in,” said John Pana, coordinator of the event, when the clock finally stopped. “I have to give a big thank-you to the Lord because this is a miracle.”

The event was organized in honor of David Begue, Pana’s best friend who died of cancer at age 14 in 1999. Members of Begue’s family, including his mother, grandparents and cousin, attended the event and helped the fraternity keep a tally of those who participated.

Originally scheduled for 11 a.m., the event began a half hour late, but immediately drew a large crowd of onlookers in Risman Plaza.

Pana himself was the first person to participate, speaking to local television stations as a barber shaved off his curls.

“It looks good!” yelled Heather Pelfrey, a freshman exploratory major who was watching the kickoff. “You look better without it!”

Pana said he was relieved to finally lose his long locks.

Other participants, like Tyler Waite, were more hesitant to take the haircutting plunge.

“I don’t know what my head’s gonna look like shaved,” said Waite, a sophomore business finance major. “I could have a spot or a knot on my head!”

But after going through with it, most participants appeared satisfied with the results, including Waite.

“It was a success,” he said, running his hand across his newly-shaved head. “It went to a good cause, and I don’t look stupid.”

A local beautician was on hand to cut the hair of anyone whose locks measured 10″ or longer. Those hair donations will be sent to Locks of Love, a national non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to children with medically induced hair loss. One female proudly displayed her chopped-off ponytail to the crowd.

Katie Galloway, freshman public relations major, was the first female to participate in the event.

“It’s for a good cause,” Galloway said. “My grandpa died of cancer, so I’m doing this for him.”

When a crowd member asked if she was friends with the other female participant, Kelli Ciola, who got her head shaved at the same time, Galloway hesitated.

“We just met,” she said to eager onlookers, “but I think we’re gonna be friends after this!”

Sinead O’Connor jokes rippled throughout the crowd, but Galloway and Ciola weren’t deterred, and they certainly weren’t the only women to participate in the event. At final count, a total of 11 females had had their heads shaved.

Kent State employees and even a group of children showed up to have their heads shaved for cancer awareness and try to be part of a world record.

Brian Lucas, a Bowling Green graduate who traveled from North Royalton to participate in the event, said he was very excited about breaking the world record. Lucas, who is Begue’s cousin, described his new, shaved ‘do as “breezy.”

“It’s very satisfying,” Lucas said. “It’s a great feeling to not only break the record but to spread the memory of David (Begue), as well.”

Haircuts were free, but the fraternity welcomed donations from participants and the general public. The final money count has not been tallied, but Pana said Pat Catan’s Craft Centers donated $1,000 to the cause. Once the new record has been processed, Lambda Chi Alpha will also receive a stipend from Guinness World Records, all of which will be donated to the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center.

To prove that the record was broken, Pana set up a video recorder that captured all four hours of haircutting on tape. Beth Gittons, the campus Greek adviser, and Eugene Walters, marketing manager for University Dining Services, will both sign a waiver saying that they witnessed the record-breaking event.

Junior education major Dan Ott was hesitant to have his head shaved but said, like many others, that he was glad he went through with it.

“Knowing it went to a good cause like cancer research, I feel better than if we were just trying to break the record,” Ott said. “Having all of us look like people with cancer will hopefully make cancer patients feel more comfortable, and that’s really cool.”

Contact Greek life reporter Kate Bigam at [email protected]