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Lending a charitable hand

By chriscal

Section: Features

November 21, 2008

Jennifer  Rawson ‘10, receives a manicure from a Paul Mitchell School Manicurist.<br /><br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

Jennifer Rawson ‘10, receives a manicure from a Paul Mitchell School Manicurist, on Tuesday, during the Manicure for a Cure event.

PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

If Michael Jordan could enjoy a good pampering manicure, why shouldn’t a member of Brandeis’ male population do the same? Who knows, it could just be the reason he dunked so many hoops, right?

When Jacob Agi ’12 first heard that Brandeis would be offering manicures for $12, he said “A manicure? No way. I’m a guy, I’m not getting a manicure.”

After a little bit of thought, and memories of a biography of Michael Jordan he’d read, Agi changed his tune.

“And then I thought about it and I [said], ‘why not?’ It’s a fun thing to do; it’s going towards a good cause. I’ll get a manicure, the ladies will like it.”

Agi was just one of 160 Brandeis students who took part in Manicure for a Cure Thursday. Hosted by the Brandeis Orthodox Organization (BOO), the event was “a cool different way to get people excited about charity work and breast cancer research in general,” event coordinator and BOO member Ellie Klausner ’09 said.

Manicurists from the Paul Mitchell School donated their time to give manicures between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and all proceeds from manicures will go straight to the two charities BOO chose: the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Sharsheret.

Last year BOO hosted a hair donation event to create wigs for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

A rainbow of pamphlets and handouts detailing breast health spread across a table greeting participants as they entered the International Lounge in Usdan.

Pink was the color scheme of the day as participants signed in for their appointments and were able to purchase gift bags filled with OPI nail polish products and Sharsheret paraphernalia.

For those indulging in the pampering of the day, giftbags cost $3 and for others $5.

Brandeis is just one of several colleges nationwide using the manicure for a cure method. The University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland have all hosted the event and Princeton University hosts it annually.

Hosted by the Brandeis Orthodox Organization (BOO), Simmons College professor and breast cancer survivor LaShaune Johnson speaks to students about the importance of early breast cancer detection strategies.<br /><br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Brandeis Hoot</i>

Hosted by the Brandeis Orthodox Organization (BOO), Simmons College professor and breast cancer survivor LaShaune Johnson speaks to students about the importance of early breast cancer detection strategies.

PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

Within the first 12 hours of sign-ups, all 120 manicure appointments filled up. Wanting as many members of the Brandeis community to be aware of the event as possible, BOO opened up more spots in the weeks following the initial sign-up date.

At the event, Simmons College professor and lymphoma and breast cancer survivor LaShaune Johnson spoke about breast cancer early detection strategies at half hour intervals before each appointment.

Her presence helped emphasize the relevance of breast cancer to college students, as many sometimes see it as only a problem for older women. Klausner said: “We wanted it to be a fun event but we also wanted it to sort of have an educational component [to help] people to realize why they’re doing this and where their money’s going.”

Johnson finds it important for young people to be aware of their own risk for breast cancer.

“It’s definitely not something to be scared of but I think it’s a good way to get people thinking in the back of their head. My goal is that they’ll go home to their family and maybe talk about their family history and make sure their mom’s getting a mammogram,” she said.

“On their hands they have the most powerful tool to detect for breast cancer just by doing the self exam,” Johnson said referencing the very hands participants were having pampered.

For Lara Rosenwasser ’09, the event was both a convenient way to beautify her hands for a weekend family function and also a connection to her own job.

As a part of her job, Rosenwasser, who works at a clinic in Waltham, makes appointments for women to get mammograms.

Not only was the concept of the event reminiscent of her work, but so was the décor. “My whole office is decorated in pink like it is here today,” she said.

Jen Rawson ’10 described the concept of the event and similar charity events as a “give and take where you need to give to someone to kind of grab their attention. And I think the aspect of a manicure is a way to grab people’s attention in order to make them realize what exactly it’s for and the reasons behind the event.”

Like many woman, Rawson was excited about the pampering aspect of the event. “It’s a great way to help someone while also enjoying yourself,” she said.

Using manicures as the catalyst for awareness worked well with the female participants, Rawson said: “Although breast cancer does affects men also it mainly affects women and a manicure is a great way [to raise awareness] because men do get manicures, but it’s mostly women. So it’s kind of a great connection between the two because you’re able to really target the population that really needs to know about this and is able to help the cause.”

Samantha Lenard ‘10, decides on a nail polish color during Manicure for a Cure on Tuesday.<br /><br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

Samantha Lenard ‘10, decides on a nail polish color during Manicure for a Cure on Tuesday.

PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

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