Grin and bare it: Going bald for a cause

The sound of hair clippers competed with the sounds of laughter and cheers inside Marietta College’s Dyson Baudo Recreation Center Friday night as dozens of heads were shaved bald in the name of children’s cancer research.

The event, which was coordinated by Marietta College seniors Tyler Bates and Zane Eschbaugh, started out as a simple dorm room dream, said Bates.

“Over Christmas break we were sitting in our dorm room thinking that we’re running out of time to make a difference here at the college,” he said.

After a little research, Bates and Eschbaugh stumbled onto the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity that gets people to shave their heads for donations in the name of children’s cancer research.

They started planning in January and support for the event has skyrocketed over the past month, with 193 shavees and volunteers collecting donations on the St. Baldrick’s website.

“It’s cold,” laughed Wendy Thieman, 43, as her short dark locks started to fall to the floor Friday.

Thieman, an administrative assistant in the Athletic Department at Marietta College, was one of two women who signed up to have their heads shaved.

“The whole shaving thing is so easy for men to do. I was hoping by signing up a few females would follow in my lead,” she said.

Thieman ended up being the biggest donation earner, pulling in more than $1,400 for the cause.

“As soon as they start taking that hair off, the emotions start working up,” said Thieman, who got teary-eyed as the crowd let out a cheer when she was finished.

The experience was emotional on a different level for Marietta resident Desni Crock, 40, the second of the two women to go bald and beautiful Friday night.

“Ask me why I did it,” said Crock.

The reason, dressed in a green “SURVIVOR” T-shirt, skipped ahead of her toward an inflatable obstacle course set up. Diagnosed at age 2 with cancer, Desni’s 6-year-old daughter Bridget has now been cancer free for more than four years.

“For anybody else it’s just hair, but for a cancer survivor or a cancer survivor’s mom, it’s more than that. There were so many days were she seemed perfectly healthy, but that bald shining head is a slap in the face. For every follicle that grows back, it was a new reason to rejoice her getting better,” Crock recalled.

She said she found out about the event through Facebook and put a challenge up Friday morning-if her friends donated $500 by the time of the event, Desni would shave her head. She was halfway there within two minutes, she said.

Phillips Elementary student William Patterson, 7, was all smiles as he took to the platform at the same time as his father to get his head sheared.

“I’m so proud of him,” said his mother, Ellen Patterson, tears welling up in her eyes as she hugged him and felt his new prickly coif.

The event far surpassed what Bates and Eschbaugh had ever dreamed.

“We originally wanted to make $5,000 and we’ve already doubled that,” said Eschbaugh.

All told, volunteers from the Muskingum Barber Shop shaved 81 heads and the event raised $11,100 dollars.

But noted Eschbaugh, people can still donate by going to