“Shave a life”- Galway students shave their heads for a charity that saves lives.
University of Galway medical society along with around 25 volunteers have raised nearly €17,000 so far, for the Galway Samaritans.
The brave volunteers will shave or dye their hair in the Quays bar tonight, at 8 pm, in aid of the local mental health charity.
John Kilgannon, a first-year medicine student is shaving his head tonight.
“The goal of the campaign is to raise as much money for the Galway Samaritans, and then hopefully to destigmatise talking about mental health, and to make people feel like it’s not embarrassing to talk about,” he says.
John says that the volunteers are grateful for the huge support from the course, the college, and their friends. He appeals to anyone who can spare “even one euro” to donate to this worthy cause.
“If we can get one more person to open up and feel comfortable, then we feel like it’s been a successful campaign.”
Heather O’ Hagan, a 19-year-old first-year medicine student is also shaving her head tonight. She reiterates the importance of the Galway Samaritans and fundraising for their work.
“We’ve been working with medsoc to organise the event and it’s a charity really close to our hearts,” she says.
Taylor Mullins, a 21-year-old final-year creative writing student will also be shaving their head tonight. Taylor says that they were inspired to get involved, because funding enables this non-profit group to help people with mental health issues.
“It’s so important to bring awareness to mental health problems and people who help with that kind of thing. Therapies also very expensive so this is such an accessible and affordable way for people to get that kind of help.”
Ciara Murray, auditor with the medical society, says, “we really want to help them to help our students with the money that’s being raised.”
She says that funding is needed to enable the Samaritans to continue providing valuable support to the student community.
“They really do save lives and we are just very happy to be involved with the very brave students who are shaving their heads and dying their hair.”
Mary Nee, from Galway Samaritans says that the group are delighted about the event and that fundraising is essential for the charity, which costs around €80,000 a year to run.
“We actively listen to the people who call us. People would call us who are going through some kind of trauma in their lives.”
“We help them to explore what’s going on for them. We hope that by the end of the call they have with us that they might come to some solution for themselves, or some way to move forward, to just take the next step.
“And we often have callers who’ll call us over a few months or even longer, when they are going through a particularly difficult time in their lives. And in Galway we have just under a thousand contacts every week- (phone and email).”