As a stylist cut 8-inch long sections from her hair, Alexa Black flashed bright smiles back at her classmates sitting in the audience.
Black and other University of Louisville medical students cut their hair or underwent complete buzzes during Tuesday’s RaiseRED Shaved Heads at Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, an event that is part of the UofL RaiseRED campaign to support the UofL Physicians-Pediatric Cancer & Blood Disorders clinical practice and UofL researchers developing pediatric cancer treatment therapies.
In addition to raising money, Black and some of the other participants will donate their locks to create wigs for children who have lost their hair from chemotherapy.
“I’ve heard so much about what a great initiative this is, so last year I decided to grow out my hair to donate it,” said Black, a second-year medical student. “We study so much, but it’s important to see the human side of medicine. This is why I want to be a physician.”
The Shaved Heads event raised more than $3,600 for RaiseRED, and fundraising will continue through Feb. 23 when the campaign culminates in an 18-hour dance marathon. RaiseRED has contributed more than $1.8 million in five years to improve the lives of children and families affected by pediatric cancer and blood disorders.
Carlos Lynes, a fourth-year medical students who had his hair buzzed on Tuesday, said he gained a better understanding during clinical rotations of what pediatric cancer patients and families endure.
“It’s very easy to shave your head when it’s an option, as opposed to what children with cancer undergo,” Lynes said. “When you’re working with these kids who are sick, it adds a whole new layer of commitment and emotion and attaches you more to this cause.”
To donate to the UofL School of Medicine’s RaiseRED total, visit https://elevate.louisville.edu/project/14581 and click “pledge support.”