Student shaves head to support sick children

Some people donate money or volunteer for charity. Others shave their head.

Freshman Alyssa Mische took a razor to her head outside of Stanford Residential College last month as part of a fund-raiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money for leukemia research.

Mische is one of tens of thousands of volunteers who participated in this event nationally to show support for the more than 160,000 children worldwide diagnosed with cancer every year.

“All I’m doing is giving up my hair,” Mische said. “How many children are lying sick in hospital beds not knowing how long they have to live?”

St. Baldrick’s is the world’s largest volunteer-driven fund-raising event for childhood cancer research. Since its first event in 2000, more than $34 million has been raised. Since 2005, the foundation has funded 13 fellowships and awarded more than $16 million to support research at 230 institutions.

But head shaving isn’t the only way to show support: Barbers are always needed to shave heads and anyone can do it. Alessandra Levy, Mische’s neighbor and close friend, said it was an honor to shave Mische’s hair.

“As I passed the razor I saw the hair on her head less and less,” Levy said. “It was an exciting feeling and I am happy I was a part of it.”

With a bald head, Mische will surely get a lot of attention, and she hopes this will inspire people to support the cause.

“I will be walking around with a box for the rest of the semester so that people can make donations,” Mische said.

Those who missed the event will have the opportunity to participate in another event on March 29. Mische is finalizing location details with Student Government, and she hopes more head shaving will take place at the Rock.

So far three students have registered to shave their heads. Though she admits the sound of the razor was nerve wracking, after it was all done she realized it really was not a big deal.

“I feel great today. I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow though,” Mische said after her hair cut.

Dan Morales, Mische’s best friend, was by her side during the head shaving.

“I am so proud of her, it is unbelievable. She has a heart of gold, and not to mention she looks phenomenal,” Morales said.

Denise Arredondo, a freshman and member of Stanford College Council, witnessed Mische’s hair transformation and said he was in awe.

“I don’t know how many people would have the guts to do this,” she said. “It’s intense. She is lucky though because she is a pretty girl.”

Matt Micklavzina, a Resident Assistant in Stanford, stopped in amazement to look at Mische’s new look, and said, “She put Natalie Portman’s haircut to shame.”

To learn more about how ways you can help save children’s lives, go to

Valerie Reyes may be contacted at