Back in February, McKinney Boyd High School counselor Rebecca Oaxaca issued a challenge and a promise to the students on her campus: If they raised $15,000 for cystic fibrosis research through the school’s Laura’s Legacy Campaign, Oaxaca would shave her head.
Radio personality "Cruz," from 106.1 KISS FM, was at the school to hear the challenge, and he pledged to return and personally wield the clippers.
The students did their part -- and true to their word, so did Oaxaca and Cruz.
Last week, on May 17, Oaxaca was joined by McKinney Boyd Principal Rick McDaniel and Cruz in the Boyd gymnasium to present a check for $16,000 to the Northeast Texas Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. BJ’s Restaurants Foundation donated an additional $1,000 on behalf of the Boyd sophomore class.
Then Cruz brought out the clippers, and before a crowd of cheering students and faculty, Oaxaca sat stoically as tufts of her silver tresses drifted gently to the floor.
It was probably the most expensive -- and least skillful -- haircut McKinney has ever seen, but for Oaxaca, it was well worth the price.
“Hair is nothing,” said Oaxaca. “If I could give my lungs, I’d give my lungs.”
Cruz was happy to lend his support. “It means a lot to [me]. It really does. It means a lot to the radio station, and I think as a community, it makes people more aware of cystic fibrosis -- that maybe didn’t have an idea of what it was before.”
“You don’t mess with a woman’s hair, but I did today -- all for a great cause!” Cruz added.
That cause is known as Laura’s Legacy, and it was inspired by Boyd freshman Laura Diosdado, who suffers with cystic fibrosis.
When Diosdado discussed her daily battle with the disease at a Boyd Awareness Assembly on Feb. 2, the Laura’s Legacy Campaign began.
Initially, students collected change in boxes, then started selling bracelets to raise money.
As word spread, more and more people got involved.
106.1 KISS FM heard about Laura’s story and changed the name of the station to LAURA FM for a day on Feb. 16. They held an auction and donated the proceeds to the cause.
Burks Elementary and the Faubion Middle School AVID students and Drill Team members accounted for several thousand of the $16,000 total.
Wolford Elementary raised more than $1,000 for an additional donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. And, local businesses like On Call Construction, El Gitano Restaurant and BJ’s Restaurant partnered with Laura’s Legacy to help the students reach, and surpass, their goal.
Oaxaca sees this as just the beginning for Laura’s Legacy. Next year she hopes to involve more McKinney ISD elementary schools and to continue to raise money and awareness to fight cystic fibrosis.
For now, Oaxaca’s buzzed locks will serve as a visible reminder of the hard work that McKinney ISD students and the community have done to help fight a deadly disease. And as a reminder that there is still much work left to do.
“Cutting my hair is a way to motivate kids to think about what we do everyday," Oaxaca said. "My hair will grow back. But, a lung condition like CF...it’s terminal and it’s a lifetime disease. You don’t get rid of it.”
About the author: Shane Mauldin is an McKinney ISD communications specialist.