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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Hairless awareness: Students make deal with Internet for DM

For $15,000, two UF freshmen pledged to shave their heads.

In a video uploaded to YouTube, Devon Leasure and Mariya Markova — both with long, straight hair — said they hope to raise the money by March 15 to support Dance Marathon and inspire others to support the cause in the process.

“Basically, the reason that we decided to do it is because neither of us were getting any serious traction on our DM donation pages,” Leasure said.

“We decided to do something that would probably be an incentive for other people to want to donate because I feel like people would like to see the two of us bald,” the 18-year-old political science major added.

Dance Marathon is a student-run philanthropy that aims to raise money and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Earlier this month, the philanthropy raised $139,274.65 in its first 24-hour event, just short of its $150,000 goal.

When the two freshmen first pitched the idea to friends and family, they said some were shocked and suggested doing something else, like dyeing their hair, cutting it into a mullet or getting a tattoo.

But the two freshmen decided to stick with their original plan, and their announcement has gotten more people interested in Dance Marathon. As of press time, both students have raised a total of $1,093. They said they had about half that amount before uploading their video on Jan. 22.

“We felt like we had to do something drastic and these kids, some of them have to not have hair, and it’s not their choice,” said Markova, a 19-year-old business major. “So I feel like we did (this) because we wanted them to feel OK, like somebody normal could be bald and be beautiful and they didn’t have to feel like they were the only one.”

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 1/27/2015 under the headline “Hairless awareness: Students make deal with Internet for DM"]

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