Little is more important to the stereotypical sorority girl than her hair. Southern Arkansas University’s Marissa Aranda is breaking down that label by putting her long, brown hair on the chopping block for a good cause.
Aranda’s Phi Mu sister, Presley Pennington, and the rest of her sorority sisters have set a goal of raising more than $7,500 this September in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Pennington, of Nashville, Ark., has seen firsthand the hardships associated with childhood cancers. Her brother, Creed, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of two. He is five and in remission, but has had to return recently to Arkansas Children’s Hospital to fight an infection in his bloodstream.
The money raised will be donated to Children’s Miracle Network and to the American Childhood Cancer Organization of Arkansas in honor of Creed and Elijah Talley, 12, of Little Rock, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at age four.
Aranda has bravely put her hair on the line to raise the stakes of the group getting to their fundraising goal. She has vowed that she will shave her head and donate her hair if the $7,500 mark is met.
The head shaving will take place in downtown Little Rock on September 28 to raise awareness for childhood cancer.
“I thought about it, and it is just hair,” said Aranda, who has yet met Creed or Elijah personally. “It will grow back. Plus, in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing compared to what these kids are dealing with every day.”
Aranda said she is turning 21 on September 29, and cannot think of a better way to spend her birthday.
The Phi Mu chapter at SAU, Epsilon Omicron, is working together with the Greater Little Rock Alumnae Chapter of Phi Mu to host this fundraising effort. At SAU, Phi Mu members are giving away gold paracord bracelets with two blue beads, representing Creed and Elijah, to anyone who donates at least a dollar.
Community Involvement is at the heart of SAU’s complete college experience. SAU has been named to the President’s Community Service Honor Roll for five years straight. In 2012, SAU earned a spot on the coveted Honor Roll with Distinction list, and was the only such university in Arkansas with that honor. Earlier this year, the trend continued as SAU Athletics brought home the NCAA Division II Award of Excellence for Community Involvement for their “Muleriders in Magnolia” initiative.