CMU students shave heads after being inspired by Miles of Smiles
Twenty-five Central Michigan University students shaved their heads before heading off for spring break to show support for children and adults fighting cancer.
In the Trout Hall lobby Feb. 26, 23 men and two women offered each other support as they watched their locks of hair fall to the ground.
The organization Miles of Smiles began when Seth Miles of Anderson University in Indiana decided to send photos of people who shaved their heads to children and adults with cancer. The Ithaca native wanted to show it’s OK to have no hair; that looks aren’t what matter.
“It’s one thing for a normal, healthy teenager to have self-confidence issues,” Miles said. “But for somebody that is fighting something that is literally killing them, they shouldn’t have to worry about something like (appearances).”
Midland junior Josh Finch, a Trout Hall resident assistant, thought Miles’ idea was great and walked around to different rooms in Trout and asked students if they wanted to join him.
“I think a lot of people take their hair for granted a lot of time,” Finch said. “It’s a very materialistic thing. You just have hair. It’ll grow back … It really inspired me to give back more, and when I realized I can do this, and I could allow other people to do it all together at the same time, it was just a really awesome moment for me.”
Paige Heumann decided to shave her head because she felt it was the right thing to do, and shaving her head became an inspiration to those around her.
“I get really positive responses,” the Gaylord freshman said. “I’m in a sorority, and all of my sisters are totally proud. I had people tell me that I’m an inspiration to them. My mom doesn’t have cancer, but she told me that I was her cure. And when I asked her what she meant by that, she just said for anything, and I was touched by that.”
Once her head was shaved, Heumann wrote ‘bald is beautiful’ on her scalp.
“I think people who have cancer seem to doubt that because they don’t have hair, especially females, that they’re not beautiful on the outside,” Heumann said. “To me, I think people who are brave enough to walk around with no hair are extremely beautiful – not only on the outside, but also on the inside.”
Bay City freshman Matthew Grimmer said as soon as Finch told him about the idea, he was excited to shave his head.
“It was really like a group experience,” Grimmer said. “Everybody cheering each other on afterwards. Just everyone doing it showed how powerful it can be and how good it can be to other people. It was really inspiring.”
Miles said several people tell him the worst part of having cancer is when they begin losing their hair. With Miles of Smiles, Miles hopes his organization grows from sending photos to patients to having volunteers visit patients in hospitals to get their hair shaved alongside them or even shave each other’s heads.
“My complete ultimate goal for this organization is to essentially eliminate ourselves, which means I want to bring in so much money from donations that I can donate it back to research for cancer so that they find a cure and we’re no longer needed,” Miles said. “I want this to be a temporary thing.”
Miles said he’s blown away by the response he’s received and cried when he found out about what the students at CMU did. He hopes more people will be a part of Miles of Smiles and that a cure for cancer is discovered soon.
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