March 3, 2010
For Immediate Release
Campbellsville University Faculty, Staff, Students Shaving Heads for St. Baldrick's Cancer Research
By Richard RoBards, sports information assistant
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Recruiting your first volleyball class could be cause to pull out one’s hair. But recently named CU volleyball coach Amy Eckenfels has better things to do with her hair.
On Sunday, March 14 in Louisville, Eckenfels will join an elite group of people who are supporting research for cancer in children by having their heads shaved.
It’s an easy decision, she says, if it can help a child suffering from cancer.
Although many others in Taylor County will also shed their locks the day before, on March 13, to raise money for the same event, Eckenfels will participate in the Jefferson County St. Baldrick’s program that her father has been involved with for about six years.
“[I] have been every year to watch. It is such an amazing event to be a part of. Since they started, I always said I was going to do it one day. After getting on the St. Baldrick’s Web site, it wasn’t even a thought anymore, it was a done deal. I registered right then and there.”
But Eckenfels isn’t the only CU coach to be cutting their hair. Thom Jones, who leads the women’s soccer program, is also getting clipped.
“I haven’t had my hair cut since last August in preparation for this,” said Jones. “I’ve been wanting to do it for two years and kept putting it on the back burner. This year I’m doing it.”
Jones’ mother and mother-in-law both died from cancer.
“It’s for kids, but it’s still a way for me to remember them.”
Jones’ soccer team is contributing $10 each to the cause.
“My hair is pretty out of control right now and they’ve (the team) really been making fun of me.”
Speaking of his coaching cohort, Jones said: “Kudos to her. It takes a lot of guts for a woman to do that.”
Other Campbellsville residents will have the chance to shave their heads at the third annual St. Baldrick’s event at Campbellsville University’s Powell Athletic Center. Donna Wise, former Lady Tiger basketball coach and now chair of the university’s Human Performance Department, is again coordinating the local event which is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 13 at Powell Athletic Center, located at 203 Tiger Way in Campbellsville.
Wise said several women, including Campbellsville University students, have shaved their heads the past two years. And she expects several to do so this year.
“I think for a female to shave her head, that’s really a unique story.”
The goal of the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser is for participants to receive donations to shave their head. The premise behind the event is for people to shave their heads to honor children who lose their hair when receiving cancer treatment.
And, last year, Campbellsville University student Amanda Ford was one of the few females who shaved her head.
She said she wanted to participate because she has known children who suffered from cancer.
“Some had good outcomes while others did not,” she said. “I felt that if I could help the research of some of these diseases just by shaving my head then why not. It’s just hair, it will grow back.”
“For those who did not know why I was bald, it was really great to just be able to tell them about the organization and why I did what I did. A lot of people said it was brave to do so and that they could not see themselves doing something like that.”
Eckenfels also encourages more people - men and women - to get involved.
“I encourage everyone to get involved somehow. You do not have to be a shavee, you can help organize an event, volunteer to work the event or donate to a participant,” she said. “My goal is to raise at least $2,500, although I would love to raise more.”
And Eckenfels’ locks won’t just hit the floor when they are cut. She’s going to donate 10 inches of her hair to Locks of Love.
“I have done this two times before, so I know what it is like to have pretty short hair ... but not shaved,” she said. “It will be different, but I am up for the challenge.”
Eckenfels said cancer patients go through much more than losing their hair.
According to Wise, more than 100 men and women in the community have shaved their heads since the first event here and about 60 have volunteered as barbers at past St. Baldrick’s fundraisers.
Wise said this year’s participants have been slow to sign up, but about 25 people have agreed to participate. She said several businesses, schools and organizations typically form teams and the groups shave their heads together.
Wise said organizers are in the process of circulating a flyer about this year’s fundraiser.
This year’s event will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For those who haven’t been at the event before, Wise said, it will begin with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m., during which local children who are battling cancer will be recognized.
Shortly after, she said, the shaving will begin with local barbers volunteering to do the work.
Children’s activities, concessions and a ping-pong match between Mike “Sarge” Pollock, a CU graduate who is serving as basketball time keeper, and George Wise, husband of Donna, are also planned.
Cancer is the No. 1 disease killer of children, Wise said, and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation uses money raised for grants to researchers and hospitals to search for cures for childhood cancer, Wise said.
To participate in this year’s St. Baldrick’s event, or to volunteer to help shave heads, visit www.stbaldricks.org. The Web site has changed, Wise said, so those interested should go to the Web site, click “Find an Event Near You” and search for “Campbellsville” or “42718.” If you want to find Eckenfels, you'll want to type in Louisville and go to the “Highlander” event.
The Web site lists the names of those who have signed up so far, including several Campbellsville University faculty and staff and other local teams. Donations can also be made online at the St. Baldrick’s Web site.
Campbellsville University employees participating so far, include: Max Wise, assistant professor of political science, shavee; Richard RoBards, sports information, shavee; Dr. Wendy Benningfield, associate professor of history, volunteer; Donna Wise, Human performance, chair; Stan McKinney, assistant professor of journalism, shavee; Bill Cassell, assistant professor of criminal justice, shavee;
Thom Jones, women’s soccer coach, shavee; Joe Walters, senior campaign officer, Office of Development, shavee; Dr. Chris Mullins, assistant professor of chemistry, shavee; Geoff Bruns, Kentucky Christian Academy 4th grader, shavee, and son of Dr. Eric Bruns, associate professor of psychology, and Tracy Bruns, director of business services; Rick Wilson, student, shavee; and David Lay, student, shavee.
McKinney, Wilson, Lay and Mullins are on a team called the “Media Madmen.”
SID Note: Some information for this story was provided by Calen McKinney, staff writer for the Central Kentucky News-Journal.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 3,006 students who represent 97 Kentucky counties, 30 states and 37 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2010 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 23rd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South, tied for fifth in “most international students” and fourth in “up-and-coming” schools in baccalaureate colleges in the South. CU has been ranked 17 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges® and to G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his 11th year as president.
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Posted on Tue, March 2, 2010
by Ashley Zsedenyi