Students surpass their St. Baldrick’s fundraising goal
group of men with shaved heads in front of a St. Baldrick's poster

It only took 15-minutes of crowd funding to raise $500, which was enough for M2 Evan Brickner to lose all of his hair at the St. Baldrick’s Foundation shave-a-thon. In total, the OUWB medical students of the Oncology Interest Group executive board raised $10,710, surpassing their goal of $10,000 to support the foundation’s mission for raising money for childhood cancer research.

Like Brickner, M1s Asia Susko and Rachel Connell planned to cheer on their classmates, but changed their minds. Their hair was cut and collected for the charity, Children With Hair Loss.

“(According to the St. Baldrick’s website,) only 4 percent of U.S. federal funding is dedicated to childhood cancer research, partly because more adults than kids get cancer. However, with the average age of childhood cancer diagnosis being 6, the average number of years of life lost to cancer is 71, which is substantially greater than that in adult cancers,” explained M2 Nikhil Mankuzhy, lead event organizer and OncIG co-president. “By getting involved in this event, the OUWB community can help fill this funding gap and fund potentially life-saving research. It is an incredible way for us to get together for an amazing cause.”

man in a blue shirt speaking into a microphone, holding a sheet of paperman with a shaved head in a blue t-shirt that says Rock the Bald, smiling at the camera
Mitchell Becker before and after his shave.

OncIG M1 representative Mitchell Becker raised $2,052.08. His motivation to collect money stemming from his own battle with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“I am shaving my head and raising money because there is hope,” said Becker. “I am doing this so that no child will have to hear those three horrible words – you have cancer.”

Faculty members pitch in

Students weren’t the only ones braving the shave. Foundational Medical Studies Assistant Professor Thomas Ferrari, Ph.D. and Associate Professor Jason Wasserman, Ph.D., lost the hair on their head and a beard, respectively, with Dr. Wasserman allowing the highest bidder to shave his beard.

“Dr. Wasserman raised $383, but there was a group at the event that donated $175 so that Patricia Fuentes and Alexandra Hospodar could shave Dr. Wasserman’s beard.” said Mankuzhy.

man in a blue O U W B t-shirt pointing to writing on a white board
Evan Brickner’s crowd funding tally!

Volunteers make it possible

Mankuzhy organized the fundraiser with the help of the Oncology Interest Group executive board, Alex Yang, Megan McCrohan, Michael Maywood, Jonathan Tang, Kylee Kus, along with M1 representatives George Cholak and Mitchell Becker.

Professional barbers Alicia Watson and Damon Hubbard from Taylor & Colt in Rochester Hills volunteered to shave the more than 20 participants. The local Hungry Howie's, Jimmy Johns, Buddy's, Jets, Dominos and Gloria Jean’s Coffee donated food and beverages for the event.

Students who signed up to shave their heads, and who raised money prior to the event, include: M2s Nikhil Mankuzhy, Joshua Hohlbein and Marcel Mic and M1s: Mitchell Becker, Scott Sabbagh, Cristian Solano, Ryan Rogers, Michael Moussa, Nick Baker, Noah Garber, James Blumline, Tom Holt, Kwesi Asantey, Tyler Shubitowski and Michael Sun.

Non-OUWB participants who shaved their heads include: Ken Taylor from Mt. Morris, Mich., Pierce Logan from Lapeer, Mich. and Haiden Fabian of Lake Orion, Mich. Fabian’s long hair will be donate to Wigs for Kids.

The event page, and all the participant pages, remains open for the whole year, so additional donations can be made. Contact Nikhil Mankuzhy for details about donating.

St. Baldrick’s photos on this page were taken by Kwesi Asantey. Go to OUWB’s Facebook page for all of Asantey’s photos from the fundraiser.