Students shave heads for charity

Kate Bigam

When John Pana’s best friend died of cancer at age 14, Pana knew he wanted to do something to honor his friend’s memory.

“Everyone you talk to has been affected by cancer in some way,” said Pana, junior communications studies major.

Seven years later, as a tribute to his friend, came Cancer Fighters and World Record Breakers, Pana’s idea to raise money for the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center, as well as to break the world record of “Most Heads Shaved.”

Tomorrow, Pana and his Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brothers will host a fundraising event in Risman Plaza, where employees of Jason’s Barber Shop will shave students’ heads to show their support of cancer patients.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., five barbers will work to shave at least 229 heads, which would break the current world record of shaving 228 heads in four hours. Right now, the record is held by a group of London barbers.

Although the haircuts are free, donations are encouraged, Pana said. Students will have the option of having their heads shaved in either a No. 1 cut, which is the shortest shave, or a No. 2 cut, which is not as close of a shave.

Tom DiMiero, a brother of Lambda Chi Alpha and the Interfraternity Council’s chairman of scholarship, said he is looking forward to having his head shaved.

“Wearing a wrist band is one thing,” sophomore advertising major DiMiero said, “but the head shaving really stands out and says ‘Hey! Pay attention to our cause!'”

Pana said that although the event is being advertised within the Greek community, it is not limited to Greeks.

“We don’t want it to be a Greek event,” Pana said. “We want it to be a Kent State event, to rally around and show support for the cause.”

Although females are welcome to shave their heads, those wishing to take less drastic measures are encouraged to donate their hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to children with medically induced hair loss. Hair donations must be a minimum of 10 inches in length and cannot be chemically damaged.

DiMiero said he hopes female students will participate in the Locks of Love portion of the event.

“That will make a huge tangible impact, other than the symbolic one the men will be making,” DiMiero said. “Our hair will grow back. We need to show support for those who don’t have that option.”

Students interested in participating in the fundraiser only need to show up, Pana said. Those wishing to secure a spot can join Pana’s Facebook group, titled Cancer Fighters and World Record Breakers, which already has more than 150 members.

And what if the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha can’t find 229 heads to shave?

“It would be a huge embarrassment if we don’t,” Pana said. “We’ve put so much into it. It’s gonna happen.”

Contact Greek life reporter Kate Bigam at [email protected].