By Rachel Crenshaw, student news writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — More than 70 people went bald and beautiful for the sake of cancer research at the first St. Baldrick’s event ever at Campbellsville University Saturday, March 15 in the Powell Athletic Center. The men, women and children who shaved their heads helped to raise over $50,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that raises awareness and funds to cure youngsters’ cancer by supporting cancer research and fellowship.
The event, chaired by Donna Wise, whose grandson, Carter, has been diagnosed with cancer, exceeded its goal of only having 25 sponsored people go bald with a target of $20,000. There were over 70 people, including women with long hair and men who had little hair to begin with, who were shaved by about 20 local barbers with about 25 persons volunteering to help with the cause. “I am extremely proud of the efforts brought forth by the community that helped to support St. Baldrick’s Foundation,” Wise said as she opened the event.
Wise is chair of the human performance department at CU and former Lady Tiger basketball coach. Wise’s grandson, who is the son of Max Wise, assistant professor of political science at CU, was one of several children who had fought or are still fighting cancer present at the event. Carter, who is 11 months old, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and is now finishing up the last of his cancer treatments.
He went bald at the event along with his father, Max. “In life we are all dealt a hand of cards,” said Max Wise before the shaving commenced, “and in the game of cancer it goes from bad, awful, to worst. However, my cards represent my wife and kids, and I’m not going to turn my family in. “We didn’t isolate ourselves when cancer struck, we started to fight. So I want to thank all those who are helping in the fight against cancer whether you donated $1 or $1,000.” Another child who has been fighting cancer in the community is Brook Johnson of Greensburg, Ky., who is the 20-month-old daughter of Brian and Missy Johnson.
Brook was diagnosed with a brain tumor and is receiving six months worth of radiation treatment from St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Brenda Allen, mayor of the City of Campbellsville, and Eddie Rogers, Taylor County judge executive, presented a proclamation in honor of the fundraiser. Several items were sold in a silent auction at the event including a basket of Webkinz® and numerous items from Merle Norman.
Greg Gribbins, radio announcer for 99.9, the Big Dawg, who was the spokesperson for the event, announced the auction’s progression.
Stylists from throughout the community volunteered to do the shaving including employees from Salons 434 and 121 and Fantastic Sams.
A number of CU sport teams participated in the event as well. Members of the football, wrestling and baseball teams waited for their turn with the stylists. “It feels good to participate in something that has such a noble cause,” said Jody Graham, associate director of CU’s FIRST CLASS, who was among several of the faculty members who went bald. “However, I was a little concerned when I realized half my hair was gray.” Max Wise had some concerns as well after rubbing his newly shaven head. “I sure am glad summer is on its way bringing in the warm weather,” he said after commenting on how overwhelmed he was at the tremendous amount of support shown by the community and campus. Several other students from campus shaved their heads in support of the cause including Katie Irwin of Center, Ky. Irwin, babysitter for Carter and Jackson Wise, and their sister, Grayson, agreed to shave off her locks when asked by four-year-old Grayson who wanted to shave her head in support of her younger brother. “Bald fever was in the air,” said Kenton Hallinan, a CU student from Louisville, Ky., who raised $68 on the spot to shave off several inches of his hair after being inspired by all who were willing to participate.
“This has been a wonderful event that is supporting a wonderful cause,” said Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University. “It is tremendously encouraging to see such a large amount of participation by our community and campus.” To learn more about St. Baldrick’s Foundation visit the Web site at www.stbaldricks.org.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,405 students who represent 98 Kentucky counties, 25 states and 29 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his ninth year as president.