By Steve Harmic, Penn State DuBois
DUBOIS – Members of the Penn State DuBois community came together on Wednesday to part with either their hair, or some hard-earned cash, all to support pediatric cancer research.
The annual THON Hair Auction, held in the Student Union, netted $1,205 this year. All proceeds will be donated to THON, the Penn State Dance Marathon, which supports the Four Diamonds Fund for children battling cancer. Students, faculty and staff members cast bids on each of the brave people who volunteered to have their hair cut for the cause. The higher the bids went, the more extreme the volunteers were willing to go with their new hair styles. This year’s “volunteers under the sheers” were students Louise Whyte, Holly Kiesling, Steve Zanoni, Owen Samuels and Chris Kurtz.
Whyte had 12 inches of hair cut off, which she also donated to Locks of Love, an organization that makes and donates wigs to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. She set a personal limit of $350 that had to be raised in order for her to take it a step further; if bids for her reached that amount, she promised to shave the shape of a diamond into her hair to represent the Four Diamonds Fund.
“I was happy to be in the hair auction. Willingly donating 12 inches of my hair is nothing if it means I can help someone who has lost their hair,” said Whyte, who will also represent Penn State DuBois at THON this year as one of the campus’ designated dancers. “Getting the diamond shaved into my head was scary, but it’s for THON, it’s for the kids, and hair grows back. Anything I can do to raise more money for THON I will willingly do.”
Whyte’s generosity through the sacrifice of her own hair was matched only by the generosity of a husband and wife team of faculty members who placed the biggest bid for the diamond haircut. Those faculty members, Jackie Atkins, senior instructor in English and Women’s Studies, and Tony Vallone, associate professor of English placed a bid for the full $350 dollars right after the auction opened. This is in addition to a $1,000 match that Vallone’s publishing company, Mammoth Books, donates to THON fundraisers every year.
“It’s like planting a tree. You may not see the end result, or see it right away, but it’s necessary, and you’re thinking for the future,” Vallone said, explaining why he and his wife get behind the THON cause. “Jackie and I also just like to come to the hair auction because we know the students, and it’s a fun way to support a great cause.”
THON is planned for Feb. 15-17, at the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park. Student dancers will attempt to dance and stay on their feet for 46 hours in support of their cause.
For more information on THON and THON events at Penn State DuBois, contact the Office of Student Life at 814-375-4764 or StudentActivities@psu.edu