DeErricka Green | Managing Editor
Junior Aleiah Miller wanted to participate in the annual St. Baldricks event last year, but she “chickened out.”
April 8 of this year however, thanks to the encouragement of friends and family, Miller shaved her shoulder-length hair in order to support the Foundation’s childhood cancer research, raising more than $300 in the process.
For members of the Sigma Nu fraternity, shaving their head for St. Baldrick’s is an annual tradition. For Miller, the event is a cause that has been on her mind for at least a year.
“I wanted to participate in St. Baldrick’s last year and I got afraid,” Miller said. “This time I signed up and posted [on Facebook that I was participating] right away so everyone would help [me] through it.”
According to the St. Baldrick’s website, in the United States, more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease. 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, a startling statistic of which Miller is all too familiar. “Some children back home that I know were diagnosed with cancer, one specific case being leukemia. This girl was only four years old and at the time she was given a 20 percent chance of living. Now, that percentage has moved up to 80 percent.”
She cites familial ties, as well as the case of the little girl as her main influences for carrying out her goal. “In addition to this little girl, in between the time that I didn’t participate in St. Baldrick’s last year and this year, my uncle passed away from cancer,” said Miller.
On the day of the event, Miller carried on the family ties to St. Baldrick’s, having her father, Christopher Miller, a barber, shave her head. Despite her father’s apprehension, he was encouraging and supportive, Miller says. “I chose my father to cut off my hair because I felt it would make the experience more meaningful. It was precious. Having him there to support me was special for me.”
One week since her big chop, Miller says that she’s since realized the security in hair, but that the responses she’s received have been nothing but positive thus far. “Everyone has been great about it. I get
negative comments from older men who love hair anyway, and I got called ‘sir’ once. Other than that, everyone has shown me love.”
Sigma Nu collected more than $14,000 for research. Originally when Miller got her head shaved, she reached her goal of $350, but since donations have continued.
“I don’t have plans of going natural or anything, but I think over the summer, I’m going to keep my hair short like this. I’m looking forward to playing with it.”