Waupaca teen raising funds by cutting hair
By Angie Landsverk
The last time Simon Baumgart had a haircut, he was in sixth grade.
He has had a bit trimmed each summer since then, but not enough to be considered a real haircut.
Now the Waupaca High School senior is preparing to have one in front of the school’s entire study body as he raises money for the American Cancer Society.
“Help Cut Cancer” will take place at approximately 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, in the high school gym during the homecoming pep rally.
Twenty-five different people will snip off tied-off sections of Baumgart’s hair.
A professional hair stylist will then finish the work they began.
Baumgart is seeking donations of $5 or more for chances to cut a bit of his hair.
The first 30 people who donate $25 or more will receive a wig, which looks like his current hairstyle.
Anyone may donate to get a chance.
They just have to be willing to attend the pep rally.
He set up a GoFundMe page for the event, with a goal of raising up to $2,500 for the American Cancer Society.
“It’s been up one night,” Baumgart said Tuesday, Sept. 27. “I think it’s already at $100 or $200. I may have to change that goal.”
Donations will be accepted through Thursday, Oct. 6. The 25 names will be chosen out of a glass jar that evening.
Baumgart’s information table about “Help Cut Cancer” will be open during the high school’s lunch hours.
People may also call the Baumgart family at 715-256-9154 for details.
All the proceeds will go the American Cancer Society. He wants to present a check to the organization during the homecoming pep rally.
Baumgart was 11 years old when he asked his parents, Ben and Kelly Baumgart, if he could grow an afro.
“I was reading a comic book, and in it, one of the characters, whose dad was very bald, wanted to grow out his hair,” Baumgart said in explaining why he asked his parents that question.
He remembers his father saying, “Sure. You can do that, but I don’t think people just grow afros.”
When Baumgart was in eighth grade, his math teacher wanted to be the one to cut his hair at the end of that school year.
However, Baumgart thought it would be more fitting to have it cut the end of his senior year.
“It’s a transition of life. I thought I could grow it back out in college,” he said.
When he accepted a role in Waupaca High School’s upcoming production of “Bye Bye Birdie,” he was asked if he was willing to have his hair cut for the part.
He was and wants to donate his hair and money to the American Cancer Society, because his grandfather, Fran Vergauwen, was diagnosed with cancer this year.
Baumgart hopes there is a day when all types of cancer are treatable.
On his GoFundMe page, he wrote, “Thanks to generous donations to cancer research, I have learned that he (his grandfather) has a better chance of a longer life than he ever did before. We have a ways to go, though.”
Baumgart thinks it will be cool to incorporate his efforts into his school’s pep rally.
“I’ve had it a long time,” he said of his afro.