Fed up with watching cancer touch the lives of so many of her family and friends, Angie Beatty wanted to do something to show her support — for both her loved ones and cancer research.
Hair-shaving fundraiser at OUWB raises $7,500 for cancer research
StBaldricks20 - 1
Bald, Brave, and Beautiful 2020, an event hosted by the Oncology Interest Group at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, raised more than $7,500 as 17 people had their heads shaved (and two more cut off huge chunks).

Fed up with watching cancer touch the lives of so many of her family and friends, Angie Beatty wanted to do something to show her support — for both her loved ones and cancer research.

The Clinton Township, Michigan resident says she found the answer when she did an internet search for St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraisers in metro Detroit.

That’s when she discovered Bald, Brave, and Beautiful 2020, an event open to the public and hosted by the Oncology Interest Group at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

Beatty signed up and raised $1,000 leading up to this year’s version of the event held Wednesday. The entire event raised more than $7,500 as 17 people had their heads shaved (and two more cut off huge chunks).

Beatty was among those who went bald.

“My dad’s girlfriend — who we lost in November — was battling stage four breast cancer for five years,” Beatty said. “I have an aunt that’s battling lung cancer, and we just found out my mom’s battling uterine cancer — I have a lot of people around me and wanted to do it for that reason.”

According to its website, the St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer- and donor-powered charity dedicated to raising money for lifesaving childhood cancer research, and funds more in childhood cancer grants than any organization except for the U.S. government.

Since the foundation's first grants as an independent charity in 2005, St. Baldrick's has funded more than $282 million to support childhood cancer research experts around the world.

StBaldricks20 - 2At OUWB, the Oncology Interest Group hosts a fundraiser annually.

Prior to the event, participants collect donations via webpages they set up through St. Baldrick’s.

Then, they step up and have their heads shaved in front of a supportive crowd that cheers them on.

OUWB M2 Duncan Stevens was among the first to have his head shaved.

“I worked in a lab that diagnosed cancer and since then I’ve kind of felt this connection to cancer patients,” he said. “It’s really uplifting. It makes me feel good.”

At least two of those who had their heads shaved shared their own experiences with battling cancer.

OUWB M2 Mitchell Becker, co-president of the Oncology Interest Group, said he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 12.

For the last nine years, he said, he’s been doing events like Bald, Brave, and Beautiful and called the participation in the event at OUWB during the last two years “incredible.”

“The idea is to come together and provide a meaningful experience as a class, as a school, and as a community in solidarity not just with pediatric cancer patients but with cancer patients in general,” Becker said.

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OUWB M1 Josh Jones shared his story with all in attendance.

Jones, with his wife and daughter in the audience, detailed how he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 13. Several people in the audience had to wipe tears from their eyes and cheeks as he described the impact of the support he received as he battled the disease.

“Being a pediatric individual diagnosed with cancer…it was really hard to wrap my head around what was going on,” he said “But with the support of family and friends, it made it manageable. That was significant.”

Throughout the event, Oncology Interest Group Secretary Ryan Rogers auctioned off goods that were donated by Trader Joe’s, with the money going toward the evening’s total fundraising count. (Other sponsors of the evening were Hungry Howie’s, Dairy Queen, and barber spa Taylor & Colt.)

Additionally, the group rallied to raise $1,250 within two hours — the number OUWB M1 Flora Martz said it would take to get her to shave her head.

“I just felt like it was the right time and for a good cause,” she said, admitting she thought “there was a pretty good chance” the $1,250 would be raised.

For anyone who is considering taking part in the event next year, or at any other fundraising event for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Martz urged them to do it.

“It’s a great experience,” she said. “Your hair will eventually grow back and it’s for a great cause, so why not?”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu
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