MARSHALL—Hair fell to the floor and contributions reached $5,500 as 19 students at East Texas Baptist University—and the school’s president and Baptist Student Ministry director—received extreme haircuts during the Shear Love initiative to support two people battling cancer.
The effort raised money to help with medical expenses for ETBU student Nathan Mathias and Jessica Bendo, sister of ETBU student Gabrielle Garcia—both undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
For two weeks, donors stuffed cash into jars, each decorated with the photo of a volunteer who agreed to be sheared. The ETBU Strike Out Cancer fund also donated $500 to the cause.
“I was completely blown away by the support from the students,” said Payton Beggs, one of the student organizers for the fund-raiser. “Students were dropping big bucks into the Mason jars, and there were students emptying out their coin purses every day to save their friends from losing their hair.”
Nine female students, 10 male students and two male staff—ETBU President Dub Oliver and ETBU Baptist Student Ministry Director Mark Yates—put their hair on the line to raise funds.
“For the ladies, the two who raised the least had to get a short cut called a minimalist, and the next two a short pixie, then a pixie, and so forth,” Yates explained. “For the guys, the person who donated the most to that guy picked the new hairstyle which they had to wear the next day.”
Oliver agreed to shave his head if Shear Love topped $3,000 in donations.
“It was a unique fund-raiser, which helped us get support from the students,” Beggs said.
“It was also a chance to be a part of something greater than ourselves. There was a need in our ETBU community, and students came together and did what we could to meet that need, even if they didn’t know Nathan or Jessica.
“I emailed almost every professor or staff member that I had ever come in contact with, asking for donations. They were more than willing to give and were also lifting up Nathan and Jessica in prayer.”