Each year for the past seven, sophomore nutrition major Nedal Eid has grown out his hair in anticipation of the one day he’ll have it all cut off.
That day is today (March 8). Eid will participate in the Shave It Off fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that supports childhood cancer research. And for his commitment to the cause, Eid will be recognized as a Knight of the Bald Table, an honor bestowed upon those who have participated for seven years.
Eid will officially earn the title—the second of five membership levels in the foundation’s League of Legendary Heroes—during today’s Shave It Off event, which started at 7 a.m. and continues through 6 p.m. at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
Eid initially got involved with Shave It Off as a member of Team Rainbow, a group of individuals affiliated with Professor of Pediatrics Alex Huang’s lab. Eid’s mother, Saada, is a research assistant in the lab and encouraged Eid to participate in the event while he was in middle school.
“I had lots of fun with it,” he said.
As a senior at Mayfield High School two years ago, Eid formed a team, getting a few teachers and fellow students to participate in the event.
This year, he’s back on Team Rainbow.
Since his first event in 2013, Eid has raised more than $10,000. With his mom working in a lab on campus that receives funding from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Eid has an even greater appreciation for what Shave It Off can accomplish.
“They’re actually giving [the money raised] back and funding this research that could potentially change lives in the future,” he said.
And beyond the money raised, Eid sees firsthand just how much the event means for childhood cancer patients at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
One memory in particular that stands out is when one of the “honored kids” at the event came downstairs with her parents to check it out. The child, who was going through chemotherapy, had the honor of shaving Huang’s hair.
“It made her so happy; it made her parents so happy,” Eid said. “It really opened my eyes to see the impact it has not only on the research grants, but also specifically on the children going through chemo. It’s really hard for them, but to see that there’s an auditorium full of people supporting them, it really made a difference for me.”
Make sure to stop by the Shave It Off event today (March 8)—and you might see Eid being knighted. But before you do, read his answers to this week’s five questions.
1. What new hobby would you pursue if you had more time?
Last spring, I picked up gardening. It originally started because one of my friends brought me a packet of seeds, a little clay pot and some soil. I planted it and didn’t think it would grow because I just kept it under a lamp in my bathroom—but it did.
So then I got super interested in it. It was really stress-free, and also rewarding because it kept me responsible for not only myself, but my plants, too. After I started seeing them growing and becoming huge [eventual moving them outside at home]—like a 4- or 5-foot tomato plant—I was like, “How did this start out from a seed two months ago?” It was really rewarding toward the end when everything started fruiting.
I was able to start picking parsley, cilantro and some peppers also.
2. Where is your favorite spot on or near campus to work, read or study?
I don’t usually stick to one spot. Every couple of weeks, I’ll switch it up and try something new. But one place I usually go back to is the Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not the quietest place, so you can’t get deep studying in, but I like to go through flashcards or read a book with my headphones in while I’m sitting there enjoying a cup of coffee.
3. What new place would you most like to travel?
One of the places I’ve wanted to travel for a while is Italy. I don’t know specifically where, but I took some Italian in high school and I’ve always been into cooking—there’s a bunch of amazing Italian recipes. I’m interested in learning the culture, learning the language.
4. If you could learn another language, what would you choose?
I took a little bit of Italian in high school. My parents and family speak Arabic at home. I’m not too good at Arabic or Italian, but those would be my two to try and get really good at.
5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?
My favorite thing about Case [Western Reserve] is probably the diversity and the fact that, because it’s so diverse, there are so many different clubs and opportunities. If you’re interested in absolutely anything, they’ve got it. That’s probably my favorite thing about being here—and that it’s so close to home.