The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Over 50 people donate their hair for UI Dance Marathon

More than 50 dance marathon members participated in the longstanding tradition of cutting or shaving their hair for donation.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Tess Haug, operations director for dance marathon, reacts while getting a haircut during the University of Iowa’s 30th Dance Marathon at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. Haug was one of the students who donated their hair for pediatric cancer patients. She raised over $10,000 to shave her head.

University of Iowa fourth-year Tess Haug has waited to shave her head for a cause since middle school. After raising over $10,000, Haug finally got her chance.

She donated her entire head of hair to pediatric cancer patients at the Short Hair Don’t Care event early Saturday morning during the 30th anniversary of UI’s 24-hour Dance Marathon, which raised $111,000 in the first few hours.

As shouts and applause filled the crowded Iowa Memorial Union ballroom, Dance Marathon members and volunteers alike counted down to the famous Short Hair Don’t Care event, a longstanding tradition at Dance Marathon.

Over 50 Dance Marathon members volunteered to cut or shave their hair on Saturday. Lining the hallways of the IMU, students excitedly took before and after selfies,  in anticipation of their new hairstyles.

Haug said she has been passionate about the cause ever since her sister introduced her to Dance Marathon in high school.

Many UI Dance Marathon students had a personal reason or motivation for going on stage and cutting or shaving their heads.

UI first-year Lauren Vogts has family members of her own who have had cancer. Her mother and her aunt have gone through multiple rounds of chemotherapy.

“It’s just been very close to home how they lost their hair and wanted to get wigs,” Vogts said. “The only way to get those wigs is for people like us to donate.”

Vogts said donating is important so families know they are not alone.

“They are going through some of the hardest times in their life and giving them that support is really important,” Vogts said.

UI fourth-year student Logan Ehrecke had not cut his curly hair since the last Dance Marathon event in 2023. He shaved his entire head at this year’s event

“The people who know me know my hair is a big part of who I am,” Ehrecke said. “When people ask me why I shaved my head, I get to tell them about all the great stuff we are doing here today.”

Tommy Layden, a UI third-year student, related shaving his head at the event to his experience as a nanny to three young children.

“I’ve been watching these kids for a really long time and I feel like they are my own kids in some ways,” Layden said. “So when I think about kids who have cancer, I think about how it would destroy me if my kids had cancer.”

Layden ran in the 2023 Chicago Marathon for the very first time for his fundraising event as a Dance Marathon member and said although running was never really his thing, he is excited to train again for this year’s marathon.

“It is a small gesture for me to shave my hair like this,” Layden said. “It’ll grow back in a couple of months and I am grateful that I get the choice to do this.”

Dance Marathon members also reflected on how the act of shaving their heads and donating their hair helped put things into perspective.

Vogts said her experience with Dance Marathon has taught her life is short and she hopes to show how far hair donation can go.

“For some of these families, life changes in an instant and that really showed me what it means to help other people,” Vogts said.

Haley Mudge, a fourth-year student, said she hopes others will cherish what they have and be willing to give back to these children.

“Tomorrow is not promised for these kids and that is why this is such an important and special thing,” Mudge said.

Ehrecke also said it has helped him appreciate what he has, and get connected with more people.

“You are able to have a much deeper understanding of something you might not have experienced yourself,” Ehrecke said. “It is something that is real and tangible that needs all the attention it can get.”

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About the Contributors
Shreya Reddy, News Reporter
Shreya Reddy is a freshman at the University of Iowa. Coming from a small town in Kansas, Shreya is double majoring in English and Political Science on the Pre-Law track. Before coming to the Daily Iowan, she has written for her neighborhood magazine and her schools literary magazine as well as writing an investigative journalism piece.
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.