At The Coop Bar and Grill in Conway on Monday night, dozens of Coastal Carolina University students filled the bar and the outdoor porch, ready to lose their hair for an event titled “Hope and Believe.”
The students were there to get their heads shaved for breast cancer awareness and to raise money for the foundation Look Good Feel Better, which has workshops for women undergoing treatment for cancer. The program teaches women the best way to use makeup and wigs to hide the affects of radiation, chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
It was a moment where an event like this kind of hit home a little bit for me and one of my fraternity brothers and that’s something special.
The students raised the funds through sponsorship: each male student getting his head shaved was sponsored by a female student who solicited donations through word-of-mouth, or crowd-funding sites like GoFundMe.
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The group raised over $8,200, said The Coop owner Ryan Weatherwax.
“It’s awesome,” said Look Good Feel Better volunteer Tami Fogleman. “It’s the first one where we’ve actually shaved heads as a benefit for cancer.”
Event organizer Dan Leonard met Weatherwax at the bar one night when Weatherwax, whose sister died of cancer, noticed Leonard’s Relay for Life shirt.
It touched me in a way that I can’t put into words.
The shirt sported the phrase “We Are Change, We Are Hope” and featured a pink ribbon.
Leonard said Weatherwax mentioned that he tries to hold breast cancer awareness events every year. A few days later, Leonard and his classmates Adam Walton, Breanna Renshaw and Danielle Hahn were assigned a philanthropic assignment for their business management course.
“I went back to him, I gave him two of our Relay for Life shirts, and that’s how the whole ball got rolling,” said Leonard. “We got a flier together, and everyone was spreading it among social media and that’s how everyone’s here right now.”
Just to know that I was a part of it, we all contributed to it with the group, and as well with every single person around us, there’s not better feeling than walking away with a shaved head.
Toni Bollinger, the mother of one of Walton’s fraternity brothers, is battling breast cancer, and the group decided to give some of the proceeds to her.
“It was a moment where an event like this kind of hit home a little bit for me and one of my fraternity brothers and that’s something special,” said Walton. “So we wanted to do what we can to make things a little easier on her and give back in a different way that’s a little more personal.”
Toni Bollinger’s son, Cody Bollinger, said he “couldn’t be more thankful” for the group’s efforts.
“It touched me in a way that I can’t put into words.” he said. “At the end of the day, cancer in general touches everyone and it’s a wonderful cause.”
It’s a little taste of what my mom and others have gone through,” he said. “I like it; I don’t physically like it, but inside, I like it.
At around 9:45 p.m., the students and onlookers gathered on the bar’s outdoor porch, and the head-shaving commenced.
Leonard was one of the first to go under the razor.
“Honestly, at the end of the day, seeing all these people around us, it’s a beautiful sight,” said Leonard. “Just to know that I was a part of it, we all contributed to it with the group, and as well with every single person around us. There’s not better feeling than walking away with a shaved head.”
Cody Bollinger said the short hair felt great.
“It’s a little taste of what my mom and others have gone through,” he said. “I like it; I don’t physically like it, but inside, I like it.”
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian