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Photo of Liz Mattox ast St. Baldricks
Gamma Iota Sigma-Sigma Chapter President Liz Mattox was one of 13 members and officers to have their heads shaved for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation at Philly I-Day. Photo courtesy of: Christina Ling, Sigma Chapter

It started as an April Fools’ Day joke: Members of Gamma Iota Sigma-Sigma Chapter – the academic fraternity for students in risk management, insurance and actuarial science – were going to have their heads shaved to raise money and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer.

Just nine days later, that joke got serious. Thirteen Sigma Chapter members and officers, including chapter President Liz Mattox, served as shavees for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation during the Insurance Society of Philadelphia’s Philly I-Day, April 9 in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Head-shaving events are the signature component of St. Baldrick’s efforts to raise funds for childhood-cancer research. According to the foundation, 1,200 head-shaving events and more than 50,000 shavees this year alone have raised more than $27.3 million. From 2005 to 2013, the organization raised more than $125 million.

Though the Sigma Chapter had little more than a week to fundraise, members collected at least $5,700 in donations. Mattox said she’s confident that the Sigma Chapter, one of the largest student organizations at Temple, will include St. Baldrick’s in its already robust community-affairs efforts.

The oldest of nine children, Mattox said she has “an annoying habit of leading by example.”

“If I made it an initiative of the Sigma Chapter, I didn’t want it to be half-done,” she said.

So there she was – on stage at Philly I-Day in the final group of four shavees, including Mary Grace Sear, another female Sigma Chapter officer. When the clippers started buzzing, all the nervousness “floated away,” Mattox said.

“It was a very moving and proud moment that we could be involved and that we could do that for St. Baldrick’s,” she said.

Photo of Liz Mattox and Mary Grace Sear
Mattox with fellow Sigma Chapter officer and shavee Mary Grace Sear. Photo courtesy of Christina Ling, Sigma Chapter

Mattox will sport her new look at a number of prominent events during the coming weeks. The Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management at the Fox School of Business hosts its annual Awards for Excellence Dinner in Center City April 22, and the Sigma Chapter holds its Gamma Gala April 25.

She also will graduate with her degree in risk management and insurance May 15 and begins as a data analyst at Trion, an employee-benefits consulting company in Conshohocken, Pa., June 2.

“Everyone I’d want to be supportive – my family, my job, my peers – have been rallying around me,” she said.

It was not until after Mattox left the Convention Center that she saw her shaved head in a window’s reflection.

“It was very surprising, but I feel great,” she said. “Everyone’s been saying it fits me well.”

Online pledges for the Sigma Chapter team are still being accepted via http://www.stbaldricks.org/teams/mypage/94098/2014