Breast cancer patients and their families can take comfort in knowing there are people in the world who are helping others and trying to make a difference.
Nicole Felter and Kellie Rellis of the sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi are currently planning their annual event, “Bald for Boobies,” which takes place Dec. 3 in the Warren Ballrooms at 7 p.m.
“Bald for Boobies” is gaining popularity not only in Plattsburgh State but also all around the United States. On Twitter, people shave their heads with the telltale hashtag, #BaldForBoobies.
In this particular event, students will shave their heads to benefit Sharsheret, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting breast cancer for men and women in the Jewish community.
Sharsheret is Hebrew for “chain,” and its mission is “to offer a community of support to women diagnosed with breast cancer or at increased genetic risk,” according to the charity’s website, “by fostering culturally-relevant individualized connections with networks of peers, health professionals and related resources.”
Founded in 2001, Sharsheret has many programs that reach different types of people. For instance, its Peer Support Program connects newly-diagnosed women — or women at high risk of cancer — to share their experiences.
The Embrace Program connects women with advanced stages of breast cancer. Sharsheret hosts monthly teleconferences for individuals in the program.
Thriving Again is another program that gives support to breast cancer survivors, and more information can be found at sharsheret.org.
Kellie Rellis said the sorority hosts the event every year in the fall semester, and will have a table in the lobby of the Angell College Center from Dec.1 to Dec. 3. Students and faculty are welcome to donate at the table or at the event.
From now until the event, each of the sorority sisters will attempt to get sponsors and recruit students and faculty to shave their heads for breast cancer awareness.
Rellis said last year’s donation total was about $900, and Alpha Epsilon Phi hopes to match that total, if not exceed it, this year.
Felter said students tend to shave their heads after growing their hair out for the entire month of November.
In addition to shaving students’ heads, the sorority will host numerous side games, such as “Bra Pong,” where ping-pong balls are tossed into bras, and “Shave A Balloon,” a game where shaving cream is applied to a balloon, and students are encouraged to shave a balloon without popping it.
Felter has a personal attachement to the event. She said her aunt died from breast cancer, and cancer runs in her family. However, Shamsheret is one of the sorority’s two main philanthropies that they benefit every year.
Concerning the event, Rellis said, “We hope to see everyone there, and have a good time.”
Some PSUC students have mixed views on whether they would shave their heads for this event.
Collin McLane said he is hesitant when it comes to shaving his head.
“I come from a family where all their hairlines are receding. I’m the only one who hasn’t, so I’m thinking about it.”
Nick LaPoint, a mathematics and education major, said he has lost a relative to cancer and might shave his head since he buzzes it in the summer anyway.
“My grandmother passed away last March from lung cancer. When we first found out, it was a big shock. We knew it was terminal and that it was going to happen, but we didn’t know how soon,” LaPoint said. “It didn’t hit me until the funeral.”
Susanne Fenton, an adolescent education graduate student, said she would consider shaving her head, but for her to make that decision, someone she knew would have to have cancer to commit to this type of change. Fenton said she lost her grandmother to cancer, but she was only 6 when it happened.
However, she has advice for those who may be suffering the loss of a loved one: “Keep your head up, and things will get better. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, but you’ve just got to keep going and know that there will be positives in the future.”
Email Tim Lyman at firstname.lastname@example.org.