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Whaler Gets Hair Cut For Chemo Wigs

Dowell has his hair measured. According to Wigs for Kids, hair must be longer than 10 inches.

Centre Sam Dowell lives by Golden Rule

CLOVERDALE – After 21 months, Whaler Sam Dowell’s hair length has slowly inched to a significant milestone: long enough to cut for a chemotherapy patient’s wig.

Dowell, 19, finally had his hair snipped off at Harry & Sons Barber March 30.

He carefully collected his brown locks – more than 10 inches long – for a donation to Wigs for Kids B.C., an organization that assists young cancer patients.

“It’s always been in my mind since I was a kid, actually – that I’ll do anything for other people – no matter what. I’ll put others before myself,” he commented."

“I thought if I was to grow it, I might as well do it for a good cause,” he said of his odyssey. The 6’2 Whaler centreman last faced off against a barber in June 2019.

Now, Dowell’s hair will provide dignity to someone going through a vulnerable medical situation.

“It’s always been in my mind, since I was a kid, actually – that I’ll do anything for other people – no matter what. I’ll put others before myself,” he commented.

Dowell has family and friends who were “negatively affected by cancer and a lot of them had lost their hair to chemotherapy.”

Cancer Connections

The Whaler also has three personal connections to cancer. Two occurred within his own family: his grandfather passed away after a cancer diagnosis; his grandmother survived breast cancer and lost all of her hair through chemotherapy. She later died. Dowell “saw the struggles” that his grandmother went through. Those struggles were reinforced when one of his mother’s friends also went bald due to chemo. He recalled how the friend went through the trauma of cancer, losing her hair and the challenge of trying to “find different wig styles.”

Assistant coach Julian Feijo agreed and called Dowell an “outstanding young man who’s caring and thrives” on helping others

In one conversation, she started to cry. “People are going to see me differently,” she pointed out. These moments tugged at Dowell’s heartstrings. “I was raised in a household where respect always came first,” he added. His attitude of “giving back” came from his parents. Whalers’ captain Tyler Price was not surprised by Dowell’s act of kindness to grow his hair out for charity. “He’s the type of guy that would stick up for anyone when they need help and that shows with him.” Assistant coach Julian Feijo agreed and called Dowell an “outstanding young man who’s caring and thrives” on helping others. While the Whalers had another goal this year – to win a Pacific Junior ‘B’ hockey championship – that dream was dashed when the league officially cancelled the season a few weeks ago in early March. Dowell was disappointed. He had worked his way onto the Pod’s roster this season after being an affiliate a year earlier. The gritty centre with a powerful skating stride recorded one assist and 29 penalty minutes in three regular season games during the fall of 2020. Feijo noticed Dowell’s “ultra competitive” streak on the ice while not being “one to brag or seek attention”.

Dowell has family and friends who were “negatively affected by cancer and a lot of them had lost their hair to chemotherapy.”

Giving Generation

In addition to the wig idea, Dowell has participated with teammates in fundraising for charities, including the annual ‘Movember’ campaign with the Whalers.

He mentioned one of his passions: to provide the homeless with meals. After the Whaler encountered a homeless man at a gas station, Dowell bought him multiple meals. The man “hadn’t eaten in days.”

Now, in his first year at university, Dowell looks forward to his final season as a Whaler – one last chance to win that elusive championship – and to help a new generation of athletes.

He revealed his dream job: being a physiotherapist.

A newly shorn Dowell holds up part of his hair donation. “I chose to put my good, long hair to use,” he concluded.