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University members gather to fundraise for pediatric cancer research

BodyHype performs for “Tigers Shave for the Brave”
Ryan Konarska / The Daily Princetonian

At an event filled with music, food, and performing arts, 11 individuals, from students to staff to members of the Princeton community, shaved their heads in support of childhood cancer research. In their first partnership with Princeton University’s Civil Leadership Council (CLC), the St. Baldrick’s Foundation hosted a crowd of about 50 for “Tigers Shave for the Brave,“ attracting those who hoped to watch others shave their heads and some who volunteered at the last minute to cut their hair for the cause.

At a time when some have seen serving the larger community as being neglected by Princeton, students and community members rallied around the cause of pediatric cancer research with a public display of support.


The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, established in 1999, raises most of its funding through head-shaving events like the CLC’s, wherein participants pledge donations to encourage individuals to cut their hair off. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has raised $326 million in research funding

The Footnotes acapella group and the BodyHype dance group came out to show their support by performing at the event.

Princeton’s “Shave for the Brave” was planned by the CLC’s Health Group, headed by Jennifer Melo ’25. Planning for the event began in the fall when the group chose childhood cancer research as its cause to support.

“We shave heads in honor of and solidarity with children and the arduous experience they have to go through when they undergo chemotherapy,” Melo said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian.

By the end of the event, the CLC had raised $3,321 for St. Baldrick’s, well past their initial goal of $3,000. Melo estimated that at the beginning of the event at 2 p.m., about $2,700 had been raised.

In addition to the head-shaving event, the CLC also sponsored a Cycle-a-Thon in Dillon Gymnasium on Friday, March 31, in support of St. Baldrick’s. Attendees cycled from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for a total of 1,137.5 miles biked — nearly the distance from Princeton to Miami. The amount raised from the Cycle-a-Thon is included in the $3,321 total. 


Rachel Sanborn and Sergeant Sean Ryder of PSAFE shave their heads
Ryan Konarska / The Daily Princetonian

Rachel Sanborn, an employee in the Department of Public Safety (PSAFE), was one of the first individuals to “brave the shave” around 2:30 p.m. 

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“My department put up the posters, and I saw them and thought, ‘Oh, this is something I can do, and I feel comfortable with it and it’s for a really good cause,’” she said in an interview with the ‘Prince.’ Sanborn’s friends and family also donated to the cause.

Among the notable shavees were Sergeant Sean Ryder of PSAFE and Howard Sutphin, who works in the Rockefeller/Mathey dining hall. 

Howard Sutphin, who works in RoMa, shaves his head
Ryan Konarska / The Daily Princetonian

More individuals than expected showed up in support, leading event organizers to order extra food at the last minute to accommodate the increased participation.

Melo lauded those who made the last-minute decision to shave their heads. “I expected six, we have around 11, which is incredible,” she said. “People walked in and became inspired by the cause.”

One of these spontaneous head-shavers was Class of 2025 President Gil Joseph ’25, who rallied two others to join him in cutting their hair at the end of the event.

“It was impulsive,” Joseph told the ‘Prince’ about his decision to shave his hair off at the last minute. “I was like, okay, cool, let’s cut my hair and maybe get some people to donate.” 

Joseph also stated that he got around ten people to donate to get him to cut his hair.

In regards to pediatric cancer research, Joseph said, “We all know someone who has been affected by it. Whether it’s cancer or any mental health issue, I always like to help.”

Sanborn was hopeful for the future of childhood cancer research following her haircut.

“One day, it can be ended,” she said.

The event was hosted at the Carl A. Fields Center for Equity and Cultural Understanding on Sunday, April 2 at 2 p.m. 

Ryan Konarska is an assistant Data editor and a News contributor for the ‘Prince.’

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