On Thursday, April 9, 282 members of the Deerfield community gathered in the Dining Hall lobby to have their hair cut by Chet’s Barber Shop (Greenfield). For every male who shaved his head, and for every female who cut six inches of her hair for Locks of Love, the Hale family donated $1,000 to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to support research for pancreatic cancer — for a total of $300,000 donated by Rob Hale ‘84.
According to the Dana-Farber website, “The mission of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is to provide expert, compassionate care to children and adults with cancer while advancing the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of cancer and related diseases.”
This event started because last year Mr. Hale, CEO of Granite Telecommunications, jokingly dared an employee to shave his beard in exchange for a $10,000 donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Two weeks later, 428 Granite employees shaved their heads or beards and donated hair to Locks of Love. Mr. Hale and his mother pledged $5000 for each person who participated, and donated more than $2.2 million to Dana-Farber through the event, called Saving by Shaving.
Because last year was so successful, Governor Charlie Baker and Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch joined this year’s campaign. A donor gave $500,000 for Governor Baker to shave his head, and another gave $10,000 for Mayor Koch when he shaved. A total of $3.25 million was donated to Dana-Farber this year.
The Hale children—Trevor ’15, Tommy ’17 and Brett ’18—wanted to bring Saving By Shaving to Deerfield.
Brett explained, “My family chose to work with Dana Farber because my grandpa (my dad’s dad) passed away from pancreatic cancer.”
Mr. Hale held the most recent event for Granite employees on April 7; and two days later, the Deerfield community joined the movement. The event was met with a positive reaction by students.
Sooah Ko ’17, who participated in the event, said, “My grandmother died of cancer when she was very young, so I have a personal connection to cancer. I wanted to donate money to cancer research, and it was exciting to see the whole school come together for a cause that is so close to me.”
Jason Bravo ’15 was also happy to see people stepping up in a unified way for a cause. He said, “My cousin was affected by cancer, and it made me think of the importance of helping others that have cancer. So when this opportunity came, I felt like I had to do it, because my hair will grow back. It’s a small price to pay if it means that people will benefit from better cancer treatment in the future.”
The shaved heads reminded Deerfield of the struggle of chemotherapy and cancer. Many were proud to contribute to Dana-Farber, thanks to the Hale family’s generosity.