Demonstrating that compassion is an integral part of the HCC definition of community, students and staff turned out on May 4 for two events that offered hope to those in need.
Unity Club's 9th Annual Wigs for Kids Cut-a-Thon-which offers a free professional cut and style for donors of 12"+ of hair, and a $12 cut and style for others-drew people from HCC and beyond to raise funds-and hair-for a remarkable organization. Wigs for Kids helps children who have lost their hair due to illness feel better about themselves, by providing custom, natural hair wigs.
"We are raising money to sponsor our eighth child," said Elizabeth Hernandez, president of Unity Club, and one of many waiting in line to get her hair cut by one of the six area stylists who volunteered for the event. Hernandez was donating 12" of thick, beautiful hair. "I‘m doing this because it will make a difference for a child, and because I believe in leading by example," she remarked.
Marty Geraghty, a member of the HCC Facilities staff, had his 17" ponytail cut in honor of his brother, who is a cancer survivor. "Everyone has someone who has been faced with cancer," he said. In addition to donating his hair, Geraghty raised money through sponsorships from friends, family, and college staff.
Six-year-old J'nyalise Marie Therrien, daughter of Unity Club Vice President Ruthie May Therrien, donated 12" of her hair to Wigs for Kids. "I want to help the kids with cancer," she explained. "They need it."
While the Wigs for Kids Cut-a-Thon was underway, students and staff were queuing up in the lobby of the Fine & Performing Arts building to volunteer to be bone marrow donors.
"Each year, the only hope for survival for more than 10,000 people with leukemia, lymphoma, and other illnesses, is to find a bone marrow donor," said Chris Mulcahy of Be The Match, a national donor program.
To be entered into the bone marrow donor database, all that is required is a five-second swab of the inside of a prospective donor's cheek. Yasmin Thahir, a graphic design student, commented, "This is so easy, and it can help save someone's life."
Surveying the line of students swabbing their cheeks and filling out the donor paperwork, Mulcahy remarked, "These students are doing something amazing. They are providing hope for that one needle in a haystack, that one donor who could mean survival for someone's mom, someone's child."
Missed the event but still want to help? Go to BeTheMatch.org.
Photos, left to right: Yasmin Thahir swabs her cheek to provide a sample for the national bone marrow donor database; Marty Geraghty, J'nyalise Marie Therrien and Elizabeth Hernandez after Marty's 17" ponytail was cut; J'nyalise getting 12" of her hair cut for Wigs for Kids.