When looking around the BJC this weekend, prepare to be bombarded with the sight of countless neon colors, arrays of tutus and numerous students with shaved heads in support of the children of the Four Diamonds Fund.
This year might be a little different. Sure, we will see all the neon, tulle and shaved heads, but we will see one young woman rocking out the buzz cut too.
Last week we sat down with Pj Tatano, creator of the fundraiser No Hair, Don’t Care benefiting THON. On Monday, February 17, the fundraiser, which had 215 participants, raised $2,600. One of these participants was No Hair, Don’t Care’s first girl, Molly Lichtenwalner.
“I want to be that support for the little girls THON Weekend,” says Lichtenwalner “I realized that there are these beautiful kids who get told they have cancer and then realize they have to lose their hair.”
This is not the first time that she was exposed to a philanthropy that raised awareness for pediatric cancer.
“My high school did a thing called St. Baldrick’s Shave for the Brave, and it’s kind of like the same thing (No Hair, Don’t Care), except people would give pledges and if they reached a certain amount of money they would shave their heads,” says Lichtenwalner. “Normally it was all guys with a total of like three girls that did it.”
It’s much easier for guys to say goodbye to five inches of hair that grows back quickly than for a girl to say goodbye to 10 inches of hair that will take a full year to grow back.
“For girls it’s hard to have to lose your hair because we are very attached to it. It is part of our identity,” says Lichtenwalner. In high school, Molly decided not to shave her head because she didn’t want to lose her hair so close to prom.
“Looking back I feel that that was probably really selfish of me. Because now, being super active in THON, I know these kids have no choice,” says Lichtenwalner.
“Molly is doing a really good job of showing that bald is beautiful because young guys show a lot of support shaving their heads for THON,” says Tatano. “I feel like a girl with a shaved head showing her support is huge.”
Since joining the THON community, she has been a part of two Morale committees and an active member of the National Student Speech Language-Hearing Association THON.
“My overall goal in life is to become a role model and that is why I wanted to become a speech pathologist, says Lichtenwalner. “I want kids to know, that no matter their differences, they are still beautiful.”
Photos by Jonathan Hsieh