Architecture faculty, students shave heads for cancer research

Shauna Stottsberry

CANCER STATS

• Childhood cancer kills more children than any other disease, according to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Each year,12,500 children are diagnosed.

(http://www.stbaldricks.org)

• Brain cancer and leukemia are the top two leading causes of cancer death among young children in the United States.

(http://seer.cancer.gov/publications

/childhoodmortality.pdf)

• Leukemia, the most common childhood cancer, increased by more than 15 percent over the past 20 years. According to the

Children’s Cancer Group Epidemiology Programchildren are 5 to 6 times more likely to develop leukemia and brain cancer if their families use pesticides at home.

(http://healthyamericans.org/topics

/index.php?TopicID=11)

Three unexpected volunteers joined assistant architecture professor Adil Sharag-Eldin yesterday in getting their heads – and more – shaved for cancer research.

Assistant architecture professor Jon Fleming, fourth-year architecture student Jeff Carter and fourth-year architecture student Eric Kauffman each volunteered to get their heads shaved if certain donation goals were reached at the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser. Generous students and faculty met each goal and kept the donations flowing.

“It’s just hair,” Sharag-Eldin, the first shavee, said. “You shouldn’t have to be sick to understand, empathize. When somebody gets sick, as a society we should all feel it.”

Sharag chose to go completely bald, but he refused to shave his mustache because he said it outlined his smile.

Carter, the second shavee, also chose to get his entire head shaved, but the next two shavees were reluctant to be so conventional. Fleming opted for a mohawk, and Kauffman chose to shave his entire head and one eyebrow.

“It’s a good cause,” Kauffman said. “I can give up my hair to make money for cancer.”

The event, held in the Gym Annex, raised more than $360.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation raises awareness and funds to find a cure for children’s cancer by saving heads at St. Baldrick’s events.

For the past four years, Melanie Stevenson, senior interior design major and event coordinator, and her family have planned the St. Baldrick’s events in Canton. The family began the event in memory of Melanie’s 19-year-old cousin, Abbey Foltz, who died from childhood cancer in 2000.

“This is the fourth year the Canton, Ohio, St. Baldrick’s has honored Abbey’s memory,” Abbey’s mom, Nancy Foltz said. “She cared so much about the younger children who were treated with her at Akron Children’s Hospital, and this event helps families who are dealing with childhood cancer know that others care.”

The most anyone has raised this year is $555. Volunteers must contribute donations; however, there is no minimum donation requirement.

“Our goal this year is $15,000,” Stevenson said, “but you can raise any amount of money to get your head shaved.”

St. Baldrick’s is hosting a fundraiser today from 6 to 9 p.m. at 91 Wood Fired Oven in Canton. Ten volunteers, including fifth-year architecture student Jonathan Fry, will be getting their heads shaved. They will begin shaving heads at 7 p.m.

St. Baldrick’s Day began in 2000, when three Irish executives from New York City, who typically spent St. Patrick’s Day together, decided to give back to society. They recruited volunteers to shave their heads in return for financial gifts from friends and family. St. Baldrick’s is now a world-wide head-shaving event that has recruited nearly 16,000 shavees – more than 1,000 of them women. St. Baldrick’s celebrations have raised more than $12 million for childhood cancer research.

The majority of the foundation’s proceeds go to the Children’s Oncology Group, a group of more than 2,000 childhood cancer experts working at 230 childhood cancer institutions throughout North America. Members of the group treat approximately 94 percent of all children with cancer in North America, according to the American Cancer Society.

Contact College of Architecture and Environmental Design and School of Art reporter Shauna Stottsberry at [email protected]