THON is fast approaching and each year the university’s most anticipated event continues to surpass all expectations. This weekend the Bryce Jordan Center will be blazoned with neon colors, buzzing with the best music and, best of all, beaming with unparalleled school pride.
Solidarity is second nature to a true Penn Stater. We stand together, without hesitation, through the good times and the bad. Here in Happy Valley, unusual yet bold acts of kindness and support are the norm. Whether you need donations – time or hair – we’ve got you covered. Yes, you read that correctly, we even shave our heads to reaffirm our support for you.
No Hair Don’t Care is community-wide THON fundraiser that encourages the general public to shave their heads as a way to demonstrate their support for those battling pediatric cancer. The event’s $10 charge will directly benefit THON’s Four Diamond fund. In addition to the warm fuzzy feeling of doing something good for mankind, participants will also receive a red, white and blue headband with “No Hair Don’t Care” inscribed on it.
PJ Tatano was just a freshman when he started this fundraiser, which was inspired by a book he read called Just Don’t Fall by Josh Sundquist.
“Josh battled cancer himself actually,” says Tatano. “On the bookmark there was a picture of him and his friends from the neighborhood when they were eight years old. They all shaved their heads for him. At that point I was just getting involved with THON and I said to myself we need something like this.”
Every year since the fundraiser’s inception, participants venture to Evolve Studio on W. Beaver Avenue to say bye-bye to long locks and hello to a buzz cut. This year two friends, Kass Ulmer and Courtney Manning, decided to join the cause. The eager freshmen in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences did not appear fearful of getting a new do, as evidenced by their matching ear-to-ear grins.
“It was something that I wanted to do last year because they had a similar program at my high school,” says Manning. “We made a Facebook page for our friends and family to see why we are doing this and how they can donate.”
After the big moment, we caught up with Kass to talk about how she feels now being a bald beauty.
“I feel great. It is not as big of a deal as I thought it would be,” she says. “I would not have done it if [Courtney] was not here with me.”
Georgia Konzel, the organizer of the event and a past participant herself, says she expects close to 400 participants total this year, an increase from last year’s total of 300.
“We have been planning this event since November. A lot of work has gone into making this event a success. It is so great to see this year’s turn out,” Konzel says.
The overwhelming response to THON, a cause near and dear to a Penn Stater’s heart, makes us all remember why we chose to spend the last four years of our lives here.
Photos by Madeline Klebe