Simpson student shaves head in fight against childhood cancer


by Alex Kirkpatrick, Digital Editor

One Simpson student is giving all her heart — and her hair — in the fight against cancer.

Kay Fee, a political science and international relations double major from Norwalk, was involved with Dance Marathon at the University of Iowa. Dance Marathon is a way for schools to make a difference in the lives of sick children.

Her involvement with Dance Marathon at UI led her to set a bold incentive.

“I set a goal to raise $1,000,” Fee said. “People were like, ‘There’s no way she would do it. Let me donate,’ and I actually fundraised it. I knew I was going to after I hit $700, and people were still contacting me.”

Walking around with a shaven head gives her a sense of encouragement.

“Part of the reason why I’m so proud is I know so many girls who lose their hair or they lose what little girls would consider their feminine identity. And little boys, too,” Fee said. “I understand that it could be hard. I just want to show them that if an adult can lose their hair and lose part of their identity, they can still be comfortable and confident and still have a reason to keep going. And maybe they will, too.”

What has given her the passion for supporting children in their fight against cancer?

Fee, whose grandparents had cancer, said she first participated in Dance Marathon at UI as a way to get involved with campus.

“It was just a simple, ‘Hey, I’m doing this, sign up with me.’ And I was like, ‘Well, I don’t have a reason to say no.’ I didn’t know what I was getting into,” she said.

Then she realized how much it touched her.

“It’s just spending the time and realizing these kids — no matter if they have cancer or if they have any other kind of disability — are tough,” she said. “They’re strong, and they’re dedicated. It’s just amazing to be around them. It’s encouraging and makes you want to be a better person.”

Fee was ecstatic to find out Dance Marathon was coming to Simpson.

“I was shocked and really, really excited,” Fee said. “Dance Marathon at Iowa was my favorite thing, so I imagined that at Simpson, where I actually go to school. There couldn’t be anything more perfect.”

The difference between UI and Simpson’s Dance Marathon is primarily the focus.

At UI, fundraisers are geared toward the Pediatric on Call unit at the university’s hospital.

Dance Marathon as a whole, though, is for all children with any type of illness or injury.

The funds support research, pay family bills, supply meals, give out wigs or provide any kind of financial or emotional support the family needs, Fee said.

Since transferring to Simpson, she’s found the process challenging but worth it.

“It’s our first year, so it’s kind of crazy,” Fee said, now the social media coordinator for Dance Marathon at Simpson. “We need families. We have about nine or 10 families.”

She said there were some obstacles organizers of the event faced.

“Who’s going to DJ, who’s going to make sure that people are going to want to dance for 12 hours, who’s going to feed us?” Fee said.

She also worries about the movement’s first impression on people.

“Since it’s our first year, we don’t want to intimidate people,” Fee said. “The whole point of fundraising is that you talk to people and to spread awareness. So, we don’t have incentives quite yet. It’s more like going out to talk to people and hope they fundraise. We want people to sign up. We want people to experience it.”

The biggest reason people should get involved with Dance Marathon, Fee said, is because of the importance of children.

“Our kids are our future,” she said. “I think that’s a big part of it. I think we have a lot to learn from children. Sometimes, we’re so involved with the adult world and responsibilities. Just come, dance and hang out with kids. There’s no better way to end your day.”

Dance Marathon is April 2. To register for the event, click here.