Eighth-grade student Brianna donates 14 inches of hair during the “Brave the Shave” event at Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake on Friday. | Photo Submitted to Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Over 20 students and several staff members at a Crystal Lake middle school shaved their heads on Friday in support of children battling cancer and raised over $17,000.

Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake partnered with St. Baldrick’s, the largest charity funder of childhood cancer research grants.

The school hosted its highly anticipated “Brave the Shave” event on Friday.

22 courageous students and three staff members shaved their heads in solidarity with children battling cancer.

Teri Rahn, an eighth-grade teacher, has her head shaved during the “Brave the Shave” event at Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake on Friday. | Photo Submitted to Lake and McHenry County Scanner

The middle school surpassed expectations by raising over $17,000 for St. Baldrick’s.

School officials say the fundraising efforts are a testament to the dedication of the students, staff and community to making a difference in the lives of children affected by cancer.

The funds raised will directly support research initiatives aimed at finding cures and improving treatments for childhood cancers.

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“I’m cutting my hair because it’s for a good cause,” said Brianna, an eighth-grade student at Bernotas who donated 14 inches of her hair.

Brianna set the record for the highest amount donated at $5,647.15.

Alexander, an eighth-grade student, has his head shaved during the “Brave the Shave” event at Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake on Friday. | Photo Submitted to Lake and McHenry County Scanner

“We are incredibly proud of our students for their selflessness and bravery in participating in the ‘Brave the Shave’ event,” Bernotas Middle School Principal Kellie Marks said.

“Their dedication to raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer research reflects the values of compassion and community that we strive to instill in our students,” Marks said.

School officials say the event not only serves as a fundraiser but also as a “powerful demonstration of empathy and solidarity.”

“I’m shaving my head because of my cousin,” said 8th-grade student Alexander. “She, unfortunately, passed away from cancer. My hair will come back, they won’t. It’s worth something.”

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