The last night of summer. Perfect for taking a stroll along the Quad. You can watch the orange beams of sunset fade, smell that faint whiff of fall in the air and feel the lazy breeze as it blows hairs clippings across the lawn.
On the evening of Thursday, September 21, seven brothers of the Omega chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon shaved their heads beside the Rock for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, their fraternity’s philanthropy.
One of those brothers was Trevor Hill, a sophomore from Kalamazoo and the mastermind behind the pop-up barber shop. Each year, members of the chapter particpate in the St. Jude Walk/Run for Ending Childhood Cancer in Ann Arbor. A fundraiser is put on by TKE in the days leading up to the event, which is on Saturday, September 23 this year, but he wasn’t satisfied with its results.
“We needed to raise a little bit more money, so I figured why don’t we create a fundraising event during that time period where we’re trying to raise for a walk/run?” he said.
Hill’s fundraiser was not out of the ordinary. But for every $500 raised, one brother of TKE would shave his head. By the end of the night September 21, $3151 had been raised, over $500 more than they had made that morning.
Buzz-cuts aside, the fun of the event was meant to awareness to a great cause that is fighting a terrible illness. Patients and their families pay nothing at St. Jude. All expenses are paid for by the hospital. Aside from insurance recoveries and grants, over 75 percent of the hospital’s expenses are paid for by public donations, according to its website.
“I think everybody knows somebody who’s affected by cancer,” said Hill. “And cancer itself is a horrible thing to go through, but when it affects a child, I feel like it’s even worse.”
Hill recalled his uncle, who passed away from cancer. He couldn’t imagine what his grandparents went through.
Hill does not want attention toward St. Jude to just cut and fade out, though. Plans are in the works to bring the Omega chapter up to St. Paul, Minnesota, St. Jude’s headquarters, for a teddy bear drive. He hopes to ask college students to write cards to the hospital’s patients as well.
Donations toward the Omega chapter of TKE’s philanthropy can be made here.
Photos courtesy of Christopher Herweyer, ’17