NSU’s Pediatrics Club will bring the fight against childhood cancer to campus with the PJammin’ 5K on Feb. 28, where participants can run in their pajamas to raise money for cancer research, and a hair shaving/donation event on March 13.

The money raised from the 5K will go to St. Baldric’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to children’s cancer research. Two cancer survivors will speak at the race.

The hair shaving/donation event will take place in the Don Taft University Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in conjunction with undergraduate club Locks for Cause. Participants can choose to shave their heads to raise awareness about childhood cancers or donate at least 8 inches of hair to cancer patients.

Ashley Van Putten, second-year medical student and president of the Pediatrics Club, said the events will unite NSU in the fight against cancer.

“Cancer is so universal,” she said. “It can affect anyone at any time, and it’s so unexpected. These events are bringing our club, our class and people throughout the university together for a common cause.”

Christina Baxter, first-year medical student and member of the Pediatrics Club, said that there isn’t enough money allotted to children’s cancer to help the number of child cancer patients.

“I hope that students who attend understand that there are organizations working to fight against children’s cancer and that they can partner with them as adults and as students,” she said. “Hopefully, people don’t need to be convinced that this is a worthy cause. Even if you haven’t had a loved one touched by cancer, you can understand that it’s awful, and who wouldn’t work to change that?”

Roshni Marballi, second-year medical student and member of the Pediatrics Club, explained that children’s cancer is different from other cancers, so it’s important to raise awareness and money specifically for children’s cancer research.

“When you’re in school and studying all the time, events like this help you take a step back and realize how something like cancer affects somebody,” she said. “You’re trying to give back to your community and help in any way that you can, even if it’s not in a medical sense. There’s other ways to help, even if it’s just to hold someone’s hand through a rough time.”

Marballi said that, last year, a classmate passed away because of brain cancer, and it hit her class really hard.

“You hear about people who die from cancer, but then it’s someone you’ve known for a while,” she said. “It really hits a nerve, so, last year, I donated my hair in his memory, and I want to keep these events going.”

The Pediatrics Club hopes to raise $10,000 for children’s cancer research. So far, they’ve raised over $1,000.

The minimum donation for the 5K is $20, and the first 250 participants will receive a T-shirt and medallion.

Sign up for the 5K on the PJammin’ 5K Facebook page. To find out more about the hair donation event, visit stbaldricks.org/events/nova2016. The events are open to everyone, and food and drinks will be provided.

For more information about the events or the Pediatrics Club, email Van Putten at av523@nova.edu.

Photo Credit: R. Marballi

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