WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA 9) -- For the third year in a row, Gonzaga's lacrosse teams participated in Be Brave and Shave, a fundraiser that supports pediatric cancer research at Children's National Medical Center.
PHOTOS: Be Brave and Shave
On Thursday, to wrap up their efforts, players shaved their heads at Gonzaga's end-of-season lacrosse celebration. The teams raised more than $26,000 this year and have surpassed the $100,000 mark for total contributions to Children's National since 2012.
"Whether we win or lose, these kids get an idea that there's more important things in life," said varsity head coach Casey O'Neill. "I just think it's important to teach your kids ... that they should be doing something, at all times, to help others."
Gonzaga topped St. John's 16-6 on Monday to secure the Eagles' fifth consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship.
"I think the kids rally around a lot of things. They rally around each other and ... the family atmosphere, but to do this after winning the championship is just icing on the cake," said O'Neill.
Meredith Chipman, Development Coordinator for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, represented Children's National at Gonzaga's event and said Gonzaga is the only local high school in the area that has participated in Be Brave and Shave for three consecutive years.
"I think the best part about these events is just the energy in the room," said Chipman, as parents, coaches and Gonzaga's athletic director, Joe Reyda, stepped up to the hair cut stations run by stylists from Bubbles salon to get their hair, beards or mustaches buzzed off and show their support.
Proceeds from Be Brave and Shave events go to the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and support the Lexi Speight Chair in Pediatric Oncology.
"It's designed to help our doctors have time to do research, to seek an ultimate cure ... Thanks to these high school students that are shaving their heads and raising all of this money for our research program, [our hope is] that we would find that cure," said Chipman.
Ben Vazirani, a senior at Gonzaga and manager for the varsity lacrosse team, said he and many of his peers were inspired to participate in Be Brave and Shave this year because one of their classmates was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
"It was motivating to do that for him," said Vazirani. "[At Gonzaga], everything is for your classmates."