Heads are shaved at Bluffton for childhood cancer research
Each year for the last six years, the Bluffton University baseball team has raised donations to shave their heads as a fundraiser for the Vs. Cancer Foundation. And each year, stylists from the Curling Iron in Bluffton do the honors with razors and capes brought to Marbeck Center so students can watch the event during lunch. Becky McClelland, a stylist from the Curling Iron, is usually front and center, but this year she watched from a lunch table.
“I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September. I started chemo on Oct. 31, Halloween,” said McClelland. “I was afraid I wasn’t going to get to come today. Sometimes my blood work is too low, and I can’t be in public, but the doctor said yesterday I could come. I didn’t want to miss it. It is such a high for us. The guys are always so sweet and thankful.”
One by one, McClelland and the student lunch crowd watched as members of the team took a seat on stage. Clippers buzzed in between laughs and shouts of support. At the end of the event, clumps of hair surrounded the stylists feet. For a more dramatic transformation, some members of the team had not cut their hair for the entire year.
The team’s goal this year is to raise $10,000.
“That would put us over the $50,000 mark,” said James Grandey, head baseball coach. “It’s going to be close, but we still have some time left. Hopefully we will meet that goal.”
Donations can be made online through on the Our Teams page on vs-cancer.org.
Half of the money raised will go to childhood cancer research. The other half will go to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Bluffton is competing for donations against other college baseball teams across the country. Grandey calls it a friendly competition.
While the fundraiser unites teams across the country, Bluffton’s event unites the team.
“When we first started, we realized a side effect was that it created a camaraderie with the guys and some togetherness ahead of spring training,” said Grandey.
Players agree. “It really does bring us together,” said Ryan Golden, a junior accounting and business administration double major from Findlay. “Not many of us like short hair. It’s a big step for us to come together and look the same before we go down to Florida and have a good time.”
For some on the team, the event has a more personal meaning.
“Cancer’s really hit home for me. Five years ago my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer, and since then he’s beat it,” said Brantley Curnutte, a sophomore history major from Hilliard. “Before then, I didn’t think much about cancer. I was a freshman in high school. After that, I really got a lesson in what it means to deal with cancer and cope with it as a family.”
Team members typically raise the funds through social media pleas to their friends and family. Some have raised just a few dollars, others thousands, but it all goes to the same cause. A cause that McClelland supports now more than ever.
“What I’ve been through I would not wish on anybody. I definitely would not wish it on a child,” said McClelland. “We need to do everything we can to help kids get through cancer. I’m happy that we take part in this. It’s a wonderful cause.”
When we first started, we realized a side effect was that it created a camaraderie with the guys and some togetherness ahead of spring training.”