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Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

Wait to walk

Student and family hosts walk-a-thon to raise money for cancer
Smiling+%2C+Kelly+Maier+%2811%29+sits+in+her+living+room+as+Jesse+Tuinstra+%2811%29+finishes+shaving+her+head.+Photo+by+Nick+Acevedo
Smiling , Kelly Maier (11) sits in her living room as Jesse Tuinstra (11) finishes shaving her head. Photo by Nick Acevedo

Kelly Maier (11) considered her hair a source of confidence, as most women do. And after waiting for over a year, she chose this year to make a change. Not just for herself, but for children battling cancer. Especially for her brother.

And so, she shaved her head. All of it. 

She noticed that a lot of women were some of the first to see the change.

“[Diana] Sanchez was in here last Excel and I was painting over there, and she turned around and happened to see me and she went, ‘Oh my god. I love it,’” Maier said.

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On Oct 21, Maier and her family hosted their yearly walk-a-thon to raise funds for the research of children’s cancer. In total, this year’s walk was 2.78 miles. A near 5k, The “Hawk Walk” was started to raise money in honor of Maier’s late brother Thomas. The name comes from a nick-name given to him by his father. 

Before she was born Maier’s older brother passed away from childhood leukemia. This loss was what inspired the family to fundraise annually. So that other families would not have to experience the same grief. All of the funds raised by the Maiers go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Their tagline is “Conquer Kids Cancer.” By working closely with leading pediatric oncologists, they determine the most promising research to fund and determine how to make the greatest impact for children with cancer.

According to their website, they are “funding researchers and also training next generation researchers and supportive-care research to improve quality of life for patients and survivors.”

The Hawk Walk of 2023 raised a current total of $1,887 out of a $1,500 goal. The majority of this funding came from those who attended the walk on Oct. 21, but the funding almost doubled from donations made after the fact. 

At the event, those who attended were given an opportunity to enter a raffle. From there, raffle tickets were pulled and donors were given a chance to partake in the shaving of Kelly Maier’s head. Over four different people were chosen from the drawing and helped Maier collect hair to donate. 

Since she’s shaved her head, Maier plans to donate her hair to an organization that makes wigs for those who have lost their hair to cancer. As of today, Maier has yet to find a foundation that will accept as much as ten inches of hair as most require 12 inches of hair to donate.

Along with Maier and her father, two more people including Carter Greenway (11) shaved their heads to donate $100 per head to the cause, which added $200 in the donation bin.

Maier made the decision to shave her head over a year ago, but in fear of taking the spotlight she waited until this year’s walk. She’s glad she waited.

“I just wasn’t at a place, confidence wise, where I could do that and feel confident about myself and not like I made a huge mistake. And I didn’t want that to be what it was about.” Maier said,

“It’s [about] remembrance and to raise awareness and funds so that other families can have more time with those that they love.”

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About the Contributor
Nick Acevedo, Visuals-Print Editor
Nick Acevedo is a member of the Class of 2025 and one of the visual designers for Portrait. They have been on staff since their sophomore year during the 2022-23 school year. When they are not in the newsroom, Nick loves to draw, read, and watch movies/tv shows.

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