ALTON — An Alton school was buzzing about a good cause Friday afternoon during Catholic Schools Week.
Marquette Catholic High School and St. Baldrick’s Foundation teamed up to host the school’s annual “Shave for Charity” event Friday afternoon. A total of 19 students, one teacher and one adult shaved their heads to help raise money for the foundation’s childhood cancer research.
As of Friday morning, $6,780 out of a goal of $7,000 in online donations were received.
“It really is a fun event. Alumni who’ve participated come back to have their head shaved again. Three girls are shaving their heads this year and they have a lot of hair. The girls are donating their ponytails (to a children’s charity),” said Mattix-Wand.
Local barbers and stylists volunteered to “put on a big production,” creating hairstyles that shocked both the crowd and participants.
Mattix-Wand traced the start of the event back to one young lady named Brianna Hook who wanted to make a difference and was willing to be the first one to shave her head to do so. Hook raised well over $1,600 herself in the event’s first year. Since Hook’s initiative five years ago, 110 Marquette heads have been shaved and $46,000 has been raised in donations.
According to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, about one in 285 children in the U.S. will have cancer before they turn 20 years old.
Marquette instructor and “Shave for Charity” coordinator Elizabeth DeCourcey worked with Hook in the event’s first year and intends to continue the efforts, she said.
“It brings awareness to the idea of children suffering from cancer. It is a disease that knows no ages,” said DeCourcey. “The kids participating feel brave and defenseless, and the kids watching respect that. The event caps off that idea of service and giving back for Catholic Schools Week.”
The participants registered weeks prior to the event with a monetary goal, then raised money throughout the nationwide celebration of Catholic Schools Week. Donations are welcomed from anyone up until two weeks after the event.
“People start to see all the pictures of the bald heads and tend to donate after the event,” said Mattix-Wand.
Along with the charity event, Marquette hosted other activities for Catholic Schools Week including a parent club appreciation luncheon, ice skating, praying sessions for children over seas and hosted about 600 students for mass Thursday.