Shave the Date Ambassadors Raise Thousands for David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation

Clippers for a Cause
Nov 29, 2017
Photo by: Dawn Simon

Hair one minute, gone the next.

The second annual Shave the Date event, presented by Swing Graphics as a benefit for David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation, was held on Friday, Nov. 24, at The Arlington in Ship Bottom. The idea originated when Swing’s Dawn Simon and Pete Sullivan were brainstorming with Jen Bryceland of East Gallery in Surf City.

“Our friend Chad Odell (who now works at Ryan’s Barber Shop and Shave Parlor in Linwood) was going to school to become a barber, and we thought it would be a fun event to have at East last year,” Simon explained. “Soon after, we decided to make it a ‘Movember’ event and raise money for David’s Dream and Believe. We do a lot of graphic design work for the foundation, and DDBCF was actually one of our first clients when we started this business. We thought this would be a great way to give back and show our gratitude. Last year was a great success, and we raised $5,333.”

This year, 13 ambassadors committed to grow out their mustaches, beards or manes and collect pledges, according to Simon. In addition to the ambassadors, the day of the event brought 18 walk-ins for a shave or cut, she said. For walk-ins, it was $25 for a shave and/or a haircut, $35 for both. Barbers from both Ryan’s and Carmelo’s Barber Shop in Manahawkin donated their time and talent.

Odell said the whole event ran smoothly. The logistics of setting up a pop-up barber shop inside the restaurant had been handled by Simon and Sullivan along with The Arlington’s Paul Sabarese.

“All we had to do was show up with our chairs and tools and start cutting,” Odell said. His shop brought two chairs, and Carmelo’s brought one. Five barbers in total volunteered their time: Odell, Phil Douglass and Lindsey Frech from Ryan’s, and Carmelo Graci and Jake Torre from Carmelo’s Barber Shop.

It was Graci’s first time participating. “When Pete (Sullivan) and Dawn (Simon) brought up the idea to me,” Odell said, “we agreed that we wanted to give different barbers each year a chance to volunteer their skills to the cause, so asking the guys from Carmelo’s was an easy choice because they have a great reputation in the area.”

“The event is amazing,” Simon said, “because other people come out to watch and support the participants. Many cheer and take photos as their friend or family member approaches the chair. It is so much fun, and we see it as a unique fundraising idea that gets people involved in a new way.” And it’s not just for guys, she added. Two women ambassadors, Jeannine Errico of the MakeShift Union and Monica Frazer of Baker’s Acres, boldly stepped up to take part.

As money continues to be raised until “Movember” ends, organizers expect to have the total amount calculated by Dec. 1. The total will be announced on DDBCF and Swing Graphics social platforms.

Errico described the event as a ceremonious act in support of the foundation’s “truly inspiring and important work in our community.” As an ambassador she garnered interest in the cause by sharing her story and documenting her hair growth leading up to the big day, in the hope of collecting pledges.

“The event itself was really fun, laid back and super supportive,” she said.

For Errico, her participation was personally meaningful because she has lost several loved ones to cancer. “I don’t have direct experience with male-related cancer,” she said, “but any way to bring attention and awareness to the issue is important.”

A memorable moment from the day was the impromptu live auction. When it was Errico’s turn in the chair, DDBCF Vice President Dani Corso was shooting an Instagram live video, during which, as a joke, Odell left only a “tail” at the base of her head. “I think Dani joked that for the right price I would keep it, and that’s when the bidding started," Errico said. “Some people bid money for me to keep it, while others bid for me to shave it off. In a matter of minutes, we raised $500!” According to Odell, the live bidding started simultaneously in the room and online. “She was willing to keep the tail for a month for each donation of $100, but there was a separate group of people bidding for me to cut it off,” he said. In the end, Team Shave It Off won, but not before someone snapped a picture of the laughable lock. Including the bidding war, Errico raised $950. Odell said buzzing Errico’s head (for the second year in a row) was the highlight of his night.

Errico added she was thankful to foundation founder and namesake David Calderella, Corso, Swing Graphics, Odell and the other barbers, all of the DDBCF directors and volunteers, fellow ambassadors and everyone who donated.

The vibe throughout the night was great, Odell added. All told, they did 23 haircuts, and hopefully made a positive impact on even more lives.

“Cancer is something that has affected everyone’s lives in some way, and it’s pretty awesome knowing that David’s Dream and Believe is doing these events for local families,” Odell said. “We’re all happy to be involved and hope to keep doing it as an annual event.”

— Victoria Ford

victoria@thesandpaper.net

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