Naperville North grads shave their heads for cancer charity

When Kira Couch and Caitlin Holzer took the unusual step of shaving their heads on a cold January day, the two college gals did so for a purpose: Raising money for a childhood cancer research nonprofit.

When all the locks had fallen and all that was left on their heads was stubble, the young women had surpassed their goal of bringing in $7,500 for the Swifty Foundation.

The Jan. 6 fundraiser by Couch and Holzer, both Naperville North High School graduates from the Class of 2016, generated $8,055 for the Woodridge-based charity. The good news continues, Holzer said, because "donations are still coming in here and there."

The Swifty Foundation was established in honor of Michael "Mikey" Gustafson, who died in 2013 of a brain tumor when he was 15.

Mikey went to school with Couch and Holzer, who said his presence in their lives motivated them to support his cause. Mikey wanted to be a scientist, so the Swifty Foundation supports research on childhood cancers and educates families about donating tissue from their child's tumor to researchers.

The Jan. 6 head-shaving - the second such hair-related fundraiser for Couch but the first for Holzer - took place on the fifth anniversary of Mikey's death.

"What better way to honor him," Couch said.

The duo both donated their hair as well, choosing to give the strands to Wigs for Kids to be turned into free hairpieces for children experiencing hair loss.

"It's something that I've always wanted to do," Holzer said about donating her hair, which she kept until this month in long, blonde curls. "It's a cause that I really care about."

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Kira Couch of Lisle gets her head shaved - for the second time - to raise money for the Swifty Foundation, a Woodridge-based childhood cancer research nonprofit, and for pediatric cancer research at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. Courtesy of Caitlin Holzer
Caitlin Holzer and Kira Couch, both college students and Naperville North High School graduates, smile after having their heads shaved Jan. 6 and exceeding their goal of raising $7,500 for the Woodridge-based Swifty Foundation, which raises money to support childhood cancer research. Their fundraiser brought in $8,055. Courtesy of Caitlin Holzer
Kira Couch and Caitlin Holzer, both 2016 Naperville North High School graduates, shaved their heads to raise money for the Swifty Foundation, a charity started in honor of one of their classmates who died during his freshman year of a brain tumor. Courtesy of Caitlin Holzer
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