Chicago IL: Prominent Community leader Harish Bhatt daughter Karishma Bhatt (MED) is Shaving her hair to Cure Childhood Cancers. Every 3 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. Help me fund the research that will save their lives!
Students at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine are shaving their heads for St. Baldrick’s, an organization that raises money for children’s cancer research. By shaving their heads, the students are not only raising money, but they help normalize the experience of losing hair during cancer treatment, a process that is quite difficult for adults and children alike.
“We spend so much time and effort shaping and coloring and caring for our hair, that it becomes one of the defining aspects of our personality and person identity,” says Shikhar Shah, first-year medical student at UIC. “I’m shaving my head because I want those kids who are suffering from cancer and losing their hair and sense of self to know that it’s not the end of the world, that a bald head can be normal.”
Many students who participate have loved ones who have suffered cancer and they wish to shave their heads on their behalf. Yu-Hui Huang, one of the two girls who is shaving her head at UIC this year, says, “My motivation stems from having watched those close to me fight cancer with some wins and losses.” She adds, “I can’t wait to walk around bald and show kids with cancer that they’re not alone.” Karishma Bhatt, who is also shaving her head and is a member of the planning committee, says, “I hope shaving my head will show young girls that losing hair, which is such a big part of our appearance and can be a major factor in a person’s self-esteem, is not something to be ashamed of.”
The event will be held on Saturday, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, March 21st 2015, at Hawkeye’s on Taylor Street, a popular hangout spot for UIC students. The students organizing the event hope to draw UIC students, loved ones, and community members to the event to support the students shaving their heads. Michael Wedoff, who is on the planning committee of this year’s UIC St. Baldrick’s event, states, “No child deserves to have cancer, let alone lose their hair as a result of treatment. Events such as St. Baldrick’s aim to normalize baldness in a fun and exciting manner, all the while raising money for an all-important cause.”
Raising money for children’s cancer is a noble cause, and it is also a necessary one. Ian Winter, president of the UIC Chicago Cancer Society, which is hosting the St. Baldrick’s event, notes, “Many people do not realize that pediatric cancers are actually an underfunded research area. Much of the money that goes into cancer research is for adult patients, who are much more numerous than pediatric patients. I am shaving my head to raise awareness of this issue, and to try to do my small part in raising money to help close the funding gap.”
An estimated 15,780 children were diagnosed with cancer just this past year. UIC medical students are acutely aware of the issues the medical community currently faces, and are dedicated to contributing as much as they possibly can to solving these problems. For children who suffer cancer, although five-year survival rates have increased over the past 35 years, we are still only at an 80% five-year rate for children diagnosed before the age of 20. Charities such as St. Baldrick’s are dedicated to changing this, and UIC students are doing their part on March 21st 2015.
Karishma Bhatt / https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/karishma
For donation / https://www.stbaldricks.org/donate/participant/751777/2015
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