Valentine’s Day at Brody Takes on a New Purpose

A Brody Middle School student makes his contribution to Locks of Love as principal Thomas Hoffman looks on.

Samson was said to have lost all of his prodigious strength when he got a haircut but that’s not the way it always works. Events this morning at Brody Middle School used haircuts to demonstrate the old axiom about strength in numbers.

The Brody community seems recently to have gotten more than its share of bad news in the form of cancer diagnoses. The reaction? Well, somebody walking into the middle of this morning’s event in the packed gym might have thought they were crashing an assembly in celebration of a championship.

Teachers, office staff, food servers, students – one after another they told their personal stories of struggles against the dread disease in its all too many forms. But to a person their remarks were triumphant and upbeat.

Collectively the speakers got their message across: it’s not just some of us that have cancer; truly, we all have it. Some of us have been slugged and some of us only tapped (so far), but it’s touched all of us somehow, through someone.

The theme was “Through This Together,” and there’s even a spirited tune by that name that was composed by Brody’s own Branden Oliver, a band instructor at the school. When it cued up any hands that were wiping away tears started clapping midway through in a spontaneous unison that spread through the united crowd like a cheerful, healthy contagion.

Then the shearing began. There was more hair cut than you’d see at a military induction depot. The idea was for men to get their heads shaved to show solidarity with patients who lose their hair while undergoing cancer treatments. And women whose ponytails were shorn donated them to Locks of Love, a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

Principal Tom Hoffman gave it up for the cause, among many others. So did DMPS School Board member Bill Howard whose wife, Cathy, is the chief custodian at Brody. And so did Oliver, though his tresses were hard to categorize. Too bushy to be ponytailed, but he wasn’t gonna go with the bald look. The student- stylists from La’ James College who donated their time and talents just whacked off a good bit of his extra and bagged it for LOL.

The annual Valentine’s Day dance at Brody tomorrow night will just continue today’s theme and mood and raise funds for donation to the John Stoddard Cancer Center and Blank Children’s Hospital.

So the assembly was designed to be part motivational; part fundraiser, but there may have been some future career decisions made in the stands this morning. It’s not hard to imagine that it might also pay indirect dividends down the road in terms of more oncologists, assuming discovery of cures doesn’t render that specialty obsolete. In that long-awaited event, the would-have-been docs can always become barbers instead.

Photos of Brody’s “Locks of Love” Event

DMPS-TV Report on the Brody Assembly

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