A freshman shaved her head in honor a young boy from her hometown.
Paul Matthews shaved his son Eli Seth Matthew’s head, and then Eli shaved his father’s head.
Yesterday, Paul Matthews stood on Liacouras Walk shaving the head of a young woman he had met less than two months earlier.
Eli Seth Matthews, a 10-year-old boy from Oxford, Pa., died from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of cancer more than a year ago, in January 2011. The Eli Seth Matthews Leukemia Foundation, Inc. was founded in his Eli’s honor.
Freshman Meghan Guerrera met Paul Matthews at a sporting event in March when she bought one of the red and black wristbands Eli designed. Guerrera also grew up in Oxford, and was touched by Eli’s story and “his selfless devotion to finding a cure for childhood cancer,” according to a post on the foundation’s website.
After meeting Paul Matthews, Guerrera contacted him and told him she wanted to do something more for Eli’s cause: shave her head. She hoped, according to the post, that donations would be made to the foundation by holding the event.
Guerrera’s roommates, fellow cheerleaders, mother and Eli’s family gathered on the Main Campus strip across from Maxi’s.
“I can honestly say I don’t really know why I started this,” said Guerrera to the crowd, “Can we just shave my head now?!”
As Paul Matthews shared his story and the story of his son, a beautician gathered Guerrera’s long brown hair into four braids, which would be cut off with scissors. Matthews took over from there and used electric clippers to give her a buzz cut, but giving her a Mohawk first.
Her friends in the crowd commented on how she could pull off a short pixie haircut, and continued saying how gorgeous she looked as more of her hair fell to the ground. Some held signs that said reading: “Bald is beautiful!”
Guerrera brushed clippings of hair from her face and shirt, then Matthews lathered what remained of her hair with shaving cream and continued with a razor.
“In hospitals all over the world, parents are doing the same thing right now for their kids,” said Matthews, as he shaved her head.
Sarah Fleischman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.