After shaving their heads to raise awareness for a rare hair condition and going on to win their third straight UAAP Cheerdance Competition title, the UP Pep Squad has decided to donate a portion of their P340,000 prize to a cancer foundation.
UP professor Eloi Hernandez, who is an adviser to the team, told Yahoo! PH Sports that the Pep Squad hasn’t decided yet which foundation will receive the donation, although the choice has been narrowed down to two.
“May dalawang pinagpipilian,” Hernandez said. “Inaayos pa.” It's also not clear yet what percentage of the prize money will be donated.
Hernandez added that even before the competition, coach Lala Perena had already thought of making a donation to a cancer foundation, regardless of which prize they won.
A story circulated in social media networks during Saturday’s cheerdance competition that the UP Pep Squad had shaved their heads because they wanted their hair to be made into wigs for cancer patients. The story turned out to be false, as the tweet from which it originated was merely a joke, according to the person who originally tweeted it. The original tweet has since been taken down.
The shaved heads were in line with their "Freedom" theme, but more importantly the team was also making a statement and raise awareness for alopecia areata, a condition that causes partial or total hair loss to the head and body. NBA player Charlie Villanueva is afflicted with this condition.
The Pep Squad still tried to see if they could in fact donate their shaved hair to be made into wigs, but found out their hair was too short.
“Sadly, our hair turned out to be too short to be donated & to produce wigs. But we will donate a portion of what we won to a foundation,” tweeted UP Pep Squad member Rafa De Guzman.
Last year, the Pep Squad dyed their hair blond in a Madonna-inspired theme. After shaving their heads this year, one wonders what they’ll do next year as they attempt to be the first team to win nine cheerdance titles.