When the Bluffton University baseball team held its 2016 Vs. Cancer head-shaving fundraiser this year,the event held extra significance for Adam Hopkins.
The criminal justice and business major, who also plays basketball player, hails from Wellington.
Hopkins was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and is undergoing chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic.
“It’s nice to know everyone has my back. Everyone has each other’s back around here. Everyone’s done a lot to help me out,” he said.
For the past five years, the BU baseball players have raised money for childhood cancer research by razoring their hair during lunch in Marbeck Center.
Half of the funds raised this year go to the Cleveland Clinic in Hopkins’ name, while the other half will go toward pediatric cancer research.
The team raised $8,000 in a short window.
Stylists from the Curling Iron in Bluffton shut down their shop for a few hours to donate their time and talent for the fundraiser. The team began the annual community service project at the insistence of former assistant coach Aaron Hutchison who had met the founder of Vs. Cancer, a college baseball player who was diagnosed with brain cancer during his freshman year.
“He couldn’t continue his career, and that resonated with us. It resonated with our players knowing that it could be them,” said James Grandey, head baseball coach. “Then obviously this year with Adam Hopkins on the basketball team with lymphoma, it hit home a little bit more for our guys.”
The event takes place each year just before the team’s spring break trip to Florida. The shaved heads make the team easily identifiable to their competitors but, according to Merrill, they also cause one problem: “Everybody warns us to wear a lot of sunscreen because of the bald heads.”