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Pantene Beautiful Lengths Campus Rep: Jenna Pilipovich

If you’ve ever wanted to make a difference in the lives a thousands of people, some that you will never even meet, then getting involved with Relay for Life is just the way to do that. Her Campus recently sat down with cancer survivor, Jenna Pilipovich, to talk about her involvement with Relay for Life and the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign here at Miami University, to hear about the great ways you can get involved and give back to a bigger community.

Name: Jenna Pilipovich

Year: Junior

Major: Political Science and Journalism

Involvement: Member of Phi Mu, Pantene Beautiful Lengths committee, Campus Tour Guide, Member of Phi Sigma Pi honor fraternity, Relay for Life, and writer for the Miami Student

 

HC: Why did you first decided to get involved with Relay for Life?

JP: I was 14 and it was my freshman year in high school when I discovered a bump on my knee that later turned out to be osteosarcoma (an aggressive malignant neoplasm) bone cancer. Getting diagnosed five days before Christmas wasn’t going to bring my spirits down. After I got the bump removed, I started a 10 month long chemo treatment where I lost all of my hair. I remember watching a commercial by Bald Is Beautiful before my diagnosis and the 14-year-old girl in the clip asked “how do you tell a girl her hair doesn’t matter?’ That really got to me and I thought to myself how lucky I was that I didn’t have to worry about this. Now that commercial has a whole new meaning to me.

Ever since my chemo treatments ended, I have been involved in Relay for Life. I started a team sophomore year and have done it ever since. I am really excited to do my first Relay for Life at Miami.

HC: How has your past diagnosis affected your feelings towards events like Relay?

JP: As a cancer survivor, Relay for Life is a very powerful event. Something that I think is very moving is when you see how many people show up to Relay for Life. You really learn a lot about the people that are all willing to set aside a few hours of their weekend night to participate and it’s something that really moves me. This is definitely an example of compassion that you cannot teach.

HC: What is your favorite part of Relay?

JP: My favorite part of Relay is when they light the luminaria; I love seeing everyone’s candles. I also look forward to the survivor lap!

HC: What can you tell me about Pantene Beautiful Lengths Campaign?

JP: I got involved with the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Campaign in January after I applied to intern with Pantene and organize this event. Since then I basically eat, sleep and breathe Pantene! This is the first time that this campaign is hosting their event at a university so we’ve had a really fun time figuring out what works best on how to get the word out to students. As for participants, I was originally expecting maybe 20 or so girls to donate 8 inches of their hair, and so far we have 62 donors! 

HC: What about the event itself?

JP: Each donor, along with anyone else who wants to get involved, will be able to join us on April 21st on central quad. We have Luna Blu stylists coming out to style the donors hair after they get their ponytails snipped! We also have a ton of goodies to raffle off and a photographer to do a red carpet photo shoot.

We’ve gotten a lot of support from the Miami student body, especially from the Greek community. A bunch of fraternities want to help out by hanging banners in front of their houses to promote this event. They also would like to make posters for each donor to let them know how beautiful they will be with short hair. It is really awesome that the Greek community wants to get involved, which will shed a positive light on the great things that we can accomplish when we all come together.

Below is a video link to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths promotional video put together by Colten Kidwell.

HC: After all that you’ve experienced, what can you say makes the biggest difference in your fight against cancer?

JP: To me, the biggest thing was all of the small things that family and friends, and even strangers did for me. My volleyball team and close friends were always so supportive of me and helped me decorate the hospital rooms where I had my chemo treatments. For my last treatment, we decorated the room with posters, balloons, and streamers. My parents also created a care page where friends and family could leave messages of encouragement. Even the smallest gestures from people made a big difference in my fight.

 

Sophomore double majoring in mass communication and journalism. Involved in Kappa Kappa Gamma, lifeguard at the Miami rec, Colleges Against Cancer member, Dance Marathon
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