In a hugely good-hearted gesture, the Sault’s Michael Davies, well-known locally for his music and long, rock star hair, had his hair shaved to help cancer patients avoid chemotherapy-related hair loss at the ‘Cancer Doesn’t Care About Your Hair, But We Do’ fundraiser held at The Machine Shop Saturday evening.
Now in his early 50s, Michael had sported long hair for 37 years.
“It feels weird. My neck’s cold for the first time in years,” Michael chuckled, speaking to SooToday.
“But it feels good to do this. It’ll grow back in a couple of years then I’ll do it again. Absolutely, without a doubt. It’s a great cause.”
"Are you trying to carve a turkey back there?" quipped Michael as a hairstylist took scissors to cut the hair which hung below his shoulders.
Michael has raised $1,635 from a GoFundMe page he established to assist chemotherapy patients pay for rental of special cold caps, which freeze the scalp and allow chemo patients to keep most of their hair as they go through the harsh treatment process.
The cost for renting the caps and accompanying kits is estimated to be about $2,000.
A District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services case manager by day, Michael is also a well-known local musician and music teacher.
Prior to getting his hair shaved, Michael provided live entertainment at The Machine Shop Saturday with fellow musician John Ferguson, the two of them known as The Tilrays (formerly Stiffler’s Mom).
“I’m so proud of him,” said girlfriend Robin Wierzbicki.
As reported earlier by SooToday, local awareness of cold caps, available for rental online through a U.S. company, has been raised by the Sault’s Andrea Pietramale.
“He (Michael) has loved his hair for as long as people can remember, and the fact he is willing to shave his head for this event shows the support we’re getting from the community. Hair means a lot to people, and for me to keep my hair with using the cold caps, and for him being willing to cut his hair to support this great cause means a lot,” Andrea told us.
“He told me his mom said ‘I’ve been trying to get him to shave his head for 40 years!’” Andrea chuckled.
Now going through a different, subsequent type of chemo treatment which does not cause hair loss (needing to continue that treatment until November 2019), Andrea hopes to eventually return to her occupation as a schoolteacher.
“I feel fantastic. I couldn’t be happier with the turnout tonight. I’m excited,” Andrea beamed.
With 1,000 tickets printed for Saturday’s fundraiser, approximately 600 were sold, with at least another 30 tickets purchased at the door.
Almost $13,000 had been raised by the time Saturday’s fundraiser activities started.
All funds raised at the event (organized by Andrea and Laurie Alfano), including the $25 admission fee and Michael’s support, will go to helping men and women pay for cold cap rental fees as they undergo chemo.
One local woman currently undergoing chemo treatments has kept her hair thanks to the cold caps, with two other women having contacted Andrea as they get ready to begin treatment.
“Sault Ste. Marie has been unbelievable with the support we’ve had. All the prizes donated by sponsors...I never got ‘no’ for an answer. I just told them my story and they all said ‘yes, yes, yes.’”
There were over 100 prizes available, including overnight stays at hotels, hair products and services, massages, jerseys, paintings and portraits.
“This is way bigger than I imagined,” Andrea said, intending to continue helping chemo patients on an ongoing basis and considering holding a second cold caps fundraiser next year.