Forty Des Moines University students have signed up to shave their heads or cut their long locks to support childhood cancer research on February 28. DMU is joining forces with eight other osteopathic medical schools from across the country to celebrate St. Baldrick’s Day, an event to raise money to conquer childhood cancer.
“All the SOMA (Student Osteopathic Medical Association) chapters from Missouri to Texas are hosting St. Baldrick’s Day events this year,” said Sheena Argawal, osteopathic medical student and event co-organizer. “We knew this would be a great opportunity to bring together the entire DMU community to raise funds and spread awareness about childhood cancer research.”
The event kicks off at noon in the Student Education Center, 3300 Grand Avenue, with a presentation by cancer patients and their families. The shaving and cutting commences at 1 p.m. and continues throughout the afternoon. More than 35 DMU staff, faculty, family and friends have joined the effort and volunteered to shave their heads or donate 10 inches of hair to charity.
“I lost my father, father-in-law and grandmother to cancer and have had several cousins diagnosed with it,” said Samina Akbar, Ph.D., assistant professor at Des Moines University. “I have not cut my hair since the ninth grade. My hope is that doing so will give someone suffering the side effects of chemotherapy a little something to be happy about.”
Teams from Des Moines University have already surpassed their fundraising goal of $10,000. The money raised will benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity committed to finding cures for childhood cancers and giving survivors long, healthy lives. The foundation’s signature head-shaving events help fund the most promising cancer research.
“I was nervous we wouldn’t reach our $10,000 goal, but I am so impressed and honored to be a part of an institution that has not only come together to reach it, but surpass it!” said Christina Lyon, president of the University’s SOMA chapter.
Participation in DMU’s St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser is open to the community. Walk-in shavees or hair donors are welcome. If you are interested in creating a team or registering for this event, please visit www.stbaldricks.org/events/dmu.
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Des Moines University (DMU) is the only private medical school in Iowa, offering graduate-level, professional degree programs in osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, biomedical sciences, anatomy, health care administration and public health. Founded in 1898, the institution offers superior academics in a collaborative environment. DMU students' pass rate on national examinations and board certifications is consistently higher than the national average and the rates at similar institutions.