East Texas Baptist University students, faculty and staff rallied together and initially raised $5,500 during a fundraiser called Shear Love. The Shear Love effort raised funds to help two people battling with cancer. A total of 21 people put their hair on the line as donors were asked to stuff jars with cash with a photo of each of the volunteers pasted on it. The money raised by each person determined the type of hair cut they would receive. The hair cutting for Shear Love occurred Monday, April 21 in the Ornelas Student Center and an additional $500 came in after the event.
Tiger Pride interviewed junior Payton Beggs of Wichita Falls, she was one of the student organizers for the event, after she got her hair cut for the cause.
TIGER PRIDE: Why did you get involved?
BEGGS: A group of us wanted to organize a fundraiser to help fellow student Nathan Mathias and Jessica Bendo, sister of student Gabrielle Garcia. Some kind of hair sacrifice thing was our big fundraiser idea. After discussing details and nailing down some ideas, we decided to call the fundraiser “Shear Love.” Because I was a part of the planning, it made sense to put my hair on the line. I figured it was the least I could do for Nathan (one of the most selfless people I know) and for Gabrielle (who has been such an encouragement to me since I’ve known her). Both are incredible ministry partners and my dear friends. For all that they have done for me, organizing this fundraiser and sacrificing my hair was the least I could do.
TIGER PRIDE: What can you say about the support from the students?
BEGGS: I was completely blown away by the support from the students. 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.
Sacrifice is tough, and I think students saw the sacrifice from the beginning and were encouraged and challenged by those who were willing to sacrifice their hair. I was even blown away by those who put their hair on the line. They fundraised at their home churches, from the Marshall community, and solicited donations from professors who have been incredibly supportive. It was a unique fundraiser, which helped us get support from students. 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 the meet that need- even if they don’t know Nathan or Jessica.
TIGER PRIDE: Do you know how many who had jars to donate in?
BEGGS: I’m not sure about exact numbers, but I think there were 8 girls and 9 guys with jars. There was also Buck Buchanan, our beloved maintenance man, who would have given up his beard if $500 were put in his jar. The deciding factor for the girls’ cuts was their place in fundraising. The less you rose in comparison with the other girls, the shorter your hair was. The deciding factor for the guys was similar to an auction. The highest bidder for one guy’s head got to cut that guy’s hair, or at least decide what they wanted it to look like.
TIGER PRIDE: Was it just students or did ETBU staff and faculty get involved?
BEGGS: Baptist Student Ministry Director Mark Yates was our biggest organizer and advocate for the fundraiser, and he also put his hair and facial hair on the line. ETBU staff and faculty have donated money and given so much encouragement to their students. I emailed almost every professor or faculty 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 the family of Gabrielle in prayer.
To read the Longview News-Journal story about Shear Love, click here.