Going bald for a brother: AGR takes it all off to support friend

Jason Mann

Jason Mann


This sound reverberated through the halls at the Alpha Gamma Rho house March 4 when nearly 30 members shaved their heads for another brother.

“We just all talked about it, we all knew about it, so we just all did it,” said Micah Rupp, a senior animal science and agricultural business major.

Steven Resler, a senior agricultural education major and AGR member, found out in January that his sore ankle was actually cancer. Resler said his ankle had been hurting for a couple of years before he finally decided to see a doctor, who thought the pain was caused by calcification of an old injury. The doctor decided to perform a biopsy, which led to the discovery of synovial sarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer that occurs most often in young men, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Resler is currently undergoing chemotherapy at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.- which has caused him to lose his hair-and will then go through radiation therapy. He said his doctors did not find any other signs of cancer after they removed the tumor, “so now it’s mostly preventative.” Resler said he has to take a week off from classes every two weeks for his treatment, but he still expects to be able to graduate in December.

Kyle Gustafson, a junior agronomy major, had been part of a group at his high school that shaved their heads in support of a classmate with cancer and decided it was worth doing again for Resler. Gustafson announced his plan at a house meeting while Resler was in Rochester and convinced many other members to join him. The group enlisted Resler’s girlfriend, Jill Pesek, to get Resler out of the house before the March 4 meeting, and then they asked their sister sorority, Sigma Alpha, to help so all 28 heads could be shaved in less than an hour and could surprise him at the meeting.

“He just had this huge grin on his face and started laughing,” said Rupp. “You could tell it really meant a lot to him.”

“It touches you,” said Resler. “I didn’t expect it or think they would. It sure was nice.”

“There’s nothing like supporting a brother-that’s what you’re supposed to do,” said Andy Walker, a senior general agriculture major.

Gustafson said that the guys felt pretty good about helping their brother, but shaving their heads in the middle of winter was a bit chilly.

“It was a really nice day when we shaved our heads, but the next was about 40 degrees. It felt pretty cold,” said Gustafson.

Jerod Matthews, a senior agricultural systems technology major, has no problem with the chill.

“I never thought twice about it. Mine’s going to grow back soon,” said Matthews. “If I was in his position, I would hope people would be that supportive and caring for me.”

The men of AGR have found some benefits to being bald, both emotionally and economically.

“It just kind of shows him that if he needs help-with anything-we’re all here,” said Mike Ollerich, a senior parks management major.

“It’s the least we could do, and it’s a pretty small token of our support,” said Matthews. “It just goes to show we’re not just a social organization, but we’re a brotherhood.”

Rupp said, “This house is going to save a lot of money on shampoo for a few weeks.”

#1.882720:3849627003.jpg:shavedheads_courtesy.jpg:Brittany Nussbaum, president of Sigma Alpha, the sister sorority to Alpha Gamma Rho, shaves AGR member Michael Wagner’s head on March 4. Twenty-eight AGR members shaved their heads in support of AGR member Steven Resler, who was diagnosed with cancer.: