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Southern Arkansas University Phi Mu Member Raises $10,000 And Shaves Head For Cancer

Marissa Aranda, a Phi Mu at Southern Arkansas University, did one of the braver things I can think of. Saturday afternoon, the day before her 21st birthday — a time during which most of us are busy picking out outfits, texting everyone details about the birthday pregame, and practicing our surprise faces for when our shot books are presented to us at the stroke of midnight — Aranda was sitting in a stylist’s chair, getting her hair chopped off as her sorority cheered her on. Her head was shaved completely bald to raise awareness for childhood cancer.

Phi Mu had a goal of $7500 in honor of the big day. They exceeded it by 33%, raising nearly $10,000 for two boys living in Little Rock, Arkansas with cancer. One boy, Elijah Talley, 12, was there on Saturday, and buzzed some of Aranda’s hair off himself. The other, Creed Foster, 5, is the younger brother of one of Aranda’s Phi Mu sisters.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Marissa, who said the plan to go through with her big haircut started as an idea in July. Her plan had not been solidified until Labor Day weekend. Ever since, her sisters have been her biggest support system, reassuring her that she’d be beautiful with or without her hair. Her two biggest supporters, however, were her pledge sister, Nicole, and her boyfriend, Daniel.

Nicole Nealy (one of my pledge sisters) decided to donate 10 inches of her hair so that I wouldn’t be alone in the hair cut/shaving process. She definitely earned a spot as my future (years and years away) bridesmaid. I also have to give major props to my boyfriend, Daniel Rodriguez. He has been a big support in this, he still thinks I’m just as beautiful as before. He even shaved his head with me! I thought that was the sweetest gesture.

Best boyfriend ever award?

The money raised will go to the Children’s Miracle Network, and the hair of Aranda and Nealy will be donated to Wigs for Kids. Aranda has still yet to have a meltdown due to the loss of her hair, because “shaving her head is nothing compared to what those kids go through everyday.” She is proud to have broken the shallow sorority girl stereotype, by doing something so self-sacrificial in such a drastic way.

I feel really great about the whole thing. Hair doesn’t make me or who I am, actions do. I hope that we have raised a lot of awareness for Childhood Cancer and that it gets the proper funding. The support has been tremendous and I’m so thankful for that.

Most importantly, the takeaway was something that the mother of Elijah, Dawn Talley said to her: “Hair grows back. Kids don’t.” That made it all worthwhile.

Marissa, you’re beautiful inside and out. I’m beyond impressed. This is one of the most selfless acts of kindness a young woman do. You’re a better person than I. Plus, no vomit in your hair on the night of your 21st! Something that *ahem* some of us can’t say for ourselves.

[via Arkansas Online]

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Veronica Ruckh

Veronica (@VeronicaRuckh) is the Director of Total Sorority Move for Grandex, Inc. After having spent her undergraduate years drinking $4 double LITs on a patio and drunk texting away potential suitors, she managed to graduate with an impressive GPA and an unimpressive engagement ring -- so unimpressive, in fact, some might say it's not there at all. Veronica has since been fulfilling her duties as "America's big," a title she gave to herself with the help of her giant ego. She has recently switched from vodka to wine on weekdays. Email her at

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