Shorewood — No, buzz cuts are not the new fashion trend among high school girls.
But that didn't stop Lolita Obolenskaya and her friends from cutting their shoulder-length hair down to a 1/2-inch last week for the school's Buzz Cuts for Cancer fundraiser to fight childhood cancer. Obolenskaya cried and held hands with her friend Leah Jorn as they watched their long locks fall from their heads in front of their cheering classmates in the high school gymnasium Wednesday.
"I thought I wasn't going to cry, but then it just started pouring out," Obolenskaya said. "I just told myself that my hair is going to grow back and that it's helping a good cause."
Jorn said she was not sad to see her long, curly hair hit the ground. She raised $800 among friends and family to benefit the MACC Fund.
Students raised money from friends and families to sponsor their buzz cut. Overall, the students raised more than $10,000 for Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, which will put the funds toward pediatric cancer research and pediatric blood disorder research. MACC Fund Executive Director John Cary said Shorewood's support over the years has helped his organization raise childhood cancer survival rates from 20 percent to 80 percent over the last 20 years.
Students with long hair also were able to donate their hair to be used as wigs for childhood cancer patients through Locks of Love.
Fighting cancer was a cause that hit close to home for Shorewood freshman Becky Jonen, who has lost two grandparents to the disease.
Shorewood High School has been holding Buzz Cuts for Cancer for about 13 years, when it was first introduced to the Shorewood Games. The fundraiser is held once only four years, but the Buzz Cuts event has been so popular that gym teacher Lisa Bromley has helped to organize it every year. She said the event has spread to Whitefish Bay in recent years.
Event co-chairs Marlee Lane and Ella Xistris said the event has become so popular that dozens of kids are willing to have their heads shaved.
"It's an event that creates community," Lane said. "It creates community among the girls who do it and all the students who do it, as well as among the parents whose kids buzzed their heads together."
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