Jackeline Zelaya felt the beaming sun and a refreshing breeze on her newly shaven head.
The 20-year-old business administration sophomore shaved her head Friday, along with 27 other people, to raise money for juvenile cancer at the Freshman Leadership Council’s second annual St. Baldrick’s Festival.
The money raised from Friday’s event will go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity that funds research to find cures for childhood cancer.
“I think that my hair is a small price to pay to find the cure for cancer,” Zelaya said. “Shaving your hair is the official way to show awareness, and awareness breeds action.”
She said she thought about donating her hair multiple times, but she was worried about her physical appearance.
“Your hair does not define whether you’re pretty or not,” Zelaya said.
Her hair was about 14 inches long in a ponytail.
Jason McKibben, a 19-year-old political science sophomore, was in charge of the festival. He said about $11,000 was raised through the combination of donations and the sponsors of the 24 participants and four virtual shavees.
McKibben exceeded his goal of breaking the $10,000 barrier to surpass the earnings from last year, which were $7,803.
Zelaya raised $3,807.50 and was one of three women who sported a bald hairstyle at Friday’s event.
Gainesville resident Renee Shifrin-Tannenholtz cut her hair for the second time at the festival. She said her hair was a little shorter than shoulder length because it was still growing back from last year.
She said the St. Baldrick’s website calls the shavees and other donors heroes, but she doesn’t feel that way.
“I’m not a hero,” she said. “The kids are the heroes. I’m just getting a haircut.”