Shawnee Heights football player inspires fundraiser

TECUMSEH, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Shawnee Heights High School football team will be sporting a new look for their game on Friday.

On Thursday, players and coaches shaved their heads and sprayed their hair gold to raised money and awareness for pediatric cancer.

"I had leukemia and I got it when I was nine years old," Eli Penrod, a Senior on the football team, said.

As the Thunderbirds showed their support for pediatric cancer, Penrod had the honor of shaving his coach's head.

"I loved it,” Penrod said. “It just shows how much he cares about me and cares about this team."

Assistant Football Coach Matt Dunkin met Eli as his sophomore wrestling coach. When asked to be a part of the Shaving for Second Chances fundraiser, he was inspired to have the team make a difference for kids like their teammate.

"That extra $5 can be the difference between a kid being able to play sports or not,” Dunkin said. “Also, letting kids know, ‘hey, we're here with you, Shawnee Heights football is here with you.’”

Penrod appreciated the support from his teammates as he gets to keep his long hair.

"They all asked if I was going to do it and I told them, ‘I did my time,’ so it’s their time to do it."

Dunkin said it wasn't hard to get the team to commit to helping kids with pediatric cancer.

"They’re just good kids and they wanted to do it,” Dunkin said. “I didn't do anything special. We have a good group of kids out here in the community."

The Thunderbirds will also have a Kick for Cancer event Friday at their football game.

Shaving for Second Chances also benefits the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.