How much good can one haircut do?
For the 170 Chattanoogans who have shaved their heads as part of Jack’s Chattanoggins in the past two years, one haircut has helped raise more than $57,000 for the fight against childhood cancer.
Jack Skowronnek, the organization's namesake founder, hosts his third annual fundraiser this Sunday, June 9 at the Chattanooga Market.
What: 2013 Jack's Chattanoggins fundraiser
When: Sunday, June 9, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Chattanooga Market, located at 1829 Carter St.
This will actually be Jack’s fifth year of shaving his own head. It is, however, the third year as a citywide event. Jack and his mother, Dawn, are dedicating the day to the memory of Kennedy Griffith, who passed away from cancer in December.
“My favorite part [of the day] is the aftermath,” Jack said. “The hair on the floor—I know I helped create all of this.”
Inspiration right off the page
Jack first conceived of the idea of shaving his head in support of children when he read Jordan Sonnenblick’s book “Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie,” in which the protagonist sheers his hair to support his younger brother, whose chemotherapy treatments for leukemia cause hair loss.
Though he has never had cancer himself, the soon-to-be high school freshman connected with the idea. Dawn helped him translate his personal endeavor into a larger fundraiser.
The pair channeled donations to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a national organization based in California, for the first two years.
With the Chattanooga Market approaching Jack to expand his project into a citywide occasion, Jack’s Chattanoggins turned its focus local: The Skowronneks partner with Children’s Hospital Foundation at Erlanger Hospital, and this year, funds will go toward renovations to oncology inpatient rooms and the Child Life Department Program.
In 2011, 50 people participated. In 2012, the roster grew to 120; and less than a week out from the event, 85 “shavees” are registered.
Dawn explained that there are always numerous walk-ups. The age of participants ranges from 5 years old to 85 years old. More and more women are also choosing to have their long and short hair shaved.
“You would be hard-pressed to find someone who has not been touched by cancer,” Dawn said of why people go under the clippers.
Being a shavee 101
Participating individuals raise their own funds, asking family and friends or collecting a matching donation from employers. Dawn noted that they are encouraged to be as creative as possible.
The organization also receives a considerable amount of day-of donations at the Chattanooga Market.
Each registered shavee is given an appointment time. The stylists from Fantastic Sams do, however, accommodate walk-ups.
Should a shavee want to donate his or her hair, the stylists will cut the hair according to the requirements of whatever organization the shavee wants to donate to.
“We’ve also asked the women to keep a video diary since this is such a life-changing event,” she said. “I wake up the next day and [the event] is over for me, but they wake up and have no hair. They live with this sacrifice every day.”