CHICO, Calif. - At least 30 college students shaved their heads Tuesday afternoon to support Chico's "Bald is Beautiful" event.
The event is put on by Up ‘til Dawn, a student-run program that works to raise money to combat childhood cancer and other diseases.
Participating students were inspired to shave their heads after visiting cancer patients in late July at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Breea Heppler was the first person and first woman to get her head shaven.
"I've always liked to keep my hair short because it's comfortable. I don't like the idea we have to keep all of our hair all the time," says Heppler.
"Being bald is beautiful because it means the chemo is working. To patients, this means they have a chance to beat the cancer, and if you have a chance, you have hope." said Tony Benuzzi, student director for Up ‘til Dawn, in a press release from Chico News.
Hamburgers, chips, and soda were sold at the event to raise money for the hospital. Proceeds help to cover medical expenses for children treated at St. Jude's, whose families never have to pay for their child's treatment, even if the expenses are not covered by insurance.
Sponsors such as Carl's Jr., Barber Jon, Campus Cutters, and All Pro DJ'z donated their services to the event.
Chico's Up ‘til Dawn fundraising event was the fastest to raise over $1 million for St. Jude, and has raised more money for the hospital than any other college in five of the past six years.
Up ‘til Dawn is also hosting a letter-writing event in Chico's Acker Gym on Nov. 5 from 4 p.m. until midnight. Students will spend the evening writing to friends and family asking for donations to contribute to St. Jude.
The upcoming event is expected to draw more than 2,500 participants.