It was three years ago when Mike Dalhuisen lost his mother to leukemia. Since that Friday in late November 2007, her memory has been following the 21-year-old through life. He learned many lessons from his mom, but there are three that never leave his mind: work hard, never quit and smile often.
She was “the best person to ever live on this earth,” Dalhuisen said. In remembrance of his mother, Dalhuisen decided to donate his hair to Locks of Love, a foundation that looks to create hairpieces for children and adults under 21 who have lost their hair due to medical illnesses. After a year-and-a-half, Dalhuisen’s hair was nearly 10 inches long, which is the minimum requirement for donation.
“I’ll probably have to shave my head,” he said before the haircut, “but that’s okay. It’ll grow back.”
On Oct. 19, Dalhuisen visited M. Salon and Spa in Wallingford, Conn., to cut off his curly locks.
“I felt that since I can grow it naturally, I might as well grow it and donate it to those people who can’t grow theirs anymore,” he said.
Dalhuisen considers the St. Baldrick’s Foundation – an organization that raises money by shaving one’s head in exchange for money toward cancer research – as an option for his next fundraising venture, but not for another few years.
“Just to shave it when it’s not long enough to donate, I wouldn’t do that. But, I mean, to make a wig out of it for someone who will then feel better about themselves; it’s a nice thing to do, and since I can do His mother led him to make many decisions in his life, especially to follow his dreams and to help others. After his collegiate career, the sophomore hockey defenseman hopes to enter into the National Hockey League. “I don’t care where I play,” he said. “I’ll play anywhere in the NHL.”
Playing professional hockey is not the only goal that Dalhuisen hopes to accomplish; since his mother died, he has been looking for new ways to help cancer patients.
“It’s a horrible thing families have to go through,” he said, “and I felt like just pitching in a little bit.”
Dalhuisen created a fundraiser of his own in order to raise money for researching a cure for cancer. LIVEHockey, inspired by Lance Armstrong’s LIVEStrong bracelets, came into creation in 2007, about a week before the death of his mother, to raise money for cancer awareness.
“The day when they do find a cure for cancer, everybody who’s wearing their bracelet will have helped out with that,” Dalhuisen said.
In the past three years, LIVEHockey has raised more than $4,000 to benefit cancer research, and more than $1,000 at Quinnipiac University alone.
The LIVEHockey organization sells cancer ribbon car magnets and hats, in addition to bracelets, to raise money for research.
As the three-year anniversary of his mother’s passing approaches and as he grows accustomed to his shortened hair, Dalhuisen remembered one thing: His mother “looked really good without hair. She lost all of her hair. She looked beautiful with a bald head.”
Photo credit: Vanessa Stier