BY MADDIE TOPLIFF
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Drake University’s student organization I Am That Girl was adamant about making a statement.
On Oct. 12, I Am That Girl sponsored a Pantene Beautiful Lengths event on Pomerantz Stage in order to raise awareness of women fighting cancer.
Pantene Beautiful Lengths started up in 2006 with the goal to provide women battling cancer with free, real-hair wigs, acknowledging how meaningful the appearance of healthy hair can be in times of faltering confidence and faith.
Pantene Beautiful Lengths’ mantra is “8 inches or $8,” which encourages donors to give either eight inches of their hair or $8 if they can’t make the cut.
Since 2006, over 800,000 ponytails have been donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. That translates to over 42,000 wigs donated to the American Cancer Society, a partner of Pantene Beautiful Lengths.
The event was fully electrified with female power from the start to the finish.
In addition to the 10 women who decided to make the cut, upbeat tunes sung by female musicians blared from the speakers, boasting encouragement and empowerment from wall-to-wall.
Sweet treats like blondies and brownies accompanied a sweet cause. Posters adorned the stage’s back wall, decorated with quirky quiffs like “Snip, snip” and “You’re my mane.”
On the opposite wall was an interactive poster with the open-ended prompt “I’m donating for …”, inviting attendees to share how cancer has impacted their own lives.
The event was right up I Am That Girl’s alley, said chapter president Eden Kreighbaum, one of the 10 total hair donors.
“I Am That Girl is all about empowering women and changing a lot of the common dialogue girls can have between each other, like tearing each other down,” Kreighbaum said. “We thought what better way than to support an organization that helps empower women going through cancer that lost their hair and provide that.”
Looks of pure astonishment dawned on the faces of participants post-cut like Emma Muth, Drake junior and vice president of programming for I Am That Girl.
“Oh my god … it’s so short!” Muth exclaimed, eight inches of her strawberry-blonde hair gone in the blink of an eye.
For Kreighbaum, the cut was a little personal.
“My mom’s cousin passed away from cancer this past fall, and she said (the hair) does make a big difference,” said Kreighbaum.
Kreighbaum was very pleased with the turnout of the event and gushed gratitude.
“It’s definitely not an easy decision (to cut one’s hair),” she said.
She said I Am That Girl has discussed making Pantene Beautiful Lengths an October tradition at Drake in order to keep cancer awareness on campus, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Although this is the only event I Am That Girl has planned for the Fall 2017 semester, Kreighbaum expressed hopes of getting more of the campus involved in I Am That Girl as the semester and school year progresses.
“We really want to work with campus as a whole and we’re always open to helping other organizations and collaborating,” Kreighbaum said.
Students can get involved with I Am That Girl at next Monday’s meeting at 8 p.m. in Meredith Hall, classroom 234.