The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 12, 2014

MSSU students, faculty go bald for cancer research

Even before Caitlin Germann had checked out her newly shorn reflection in a mirror, she was inviting her friends to feel her new do.

“It feels good; it feels lighter,” she said. “Whenever you wash your hair and feel water on your scalp — it feels like that, but all over. I don’t know how else to describe it.”

Germann was part of the fourth annual St. Baldrick’s celebration, in which participants had their heads shaved as a fundraiser for childhood cancer research and awareness.

The event, which also included food, games and a silent auction, was put on Wednesday at Young Gymnasium at Missouri Southern State University by the student senate. Organizers worked this year with Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which uses hair donations of at least 8 inches in length to make wigs.

Germann, a freshman psychology major, said she didn’t need much convincing to shave her head.

“I’ve kept my hair short because it’s really thick, and I thought this would be easy to take care of,” she said. “It’s a new hairstyle, a new way of looking at things.”

One of the night’s top fundraisers, Scott Cragin, also was looking forward to his shave. Cragin, a Missouri Southern marketing professor, had been growing out his goatee for six months, and the hair on his head reached his shoulders.

Moments before his shave, for which he had raised nearly $2,000, Cragin was still trying to entice last-minute donors by telling them they could choose whether he went fully bald or ended up with a partially shaved hairstyle, such as a mohawk or a topknot.

“I know I’ll be nervous afterward,” he joked. “I’m going to look some way I’ve never looked before. And I could have a bumpy head, you never know.”

Noah Triplett, a senior biology major and student senate president, had signed up to have his head shaved for the third year in a row. Not having had a haircut since last year’s St. Baldrick’s event, he said, he frequently was met with queries about his “ridiculous ponytail” over the past few months.

But that didn’t deter him, and he said he hoped to have raised $150 for his shorn locks by the end of the night.

“I don’t have a lot of things that I’m passionate about that are good causes, but this, I would say, is one of them,” he said.

As of Wednesday night, the national St. Baldrick’s Foundation had raised $16.2 million so far this year in support of cancer research. It has awarded more than $127 million to cancer research since 2005.

The St. Baldrick’s event at Missouri Southern has raised nearly $20,000 over the past three years, according to Brittany Lampe, a senior secondary education and biology major and member of the student senate.

The foundation says 82 cents of every dollar raised goes toward research; the remaining amount goes toward fundraising and administration.

About 175,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year, according to the foundation. More American children die of cancer than of any other disease, while two-thirds of children treated for cancer will suffer long-term effects such as learning disabilities, secondary cancers or hearing or vision loss, the foundation says.

Name game

THERE WAS NO REAL ST. BALDRICK, according to the national St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The name was derived from a combination of “bald” and “St. Patrick’s,” as the first national event was held on St. Patrick’s Day in 2000.

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