Earlier this month, SM East boys basketball head coach Shawn Hair told the Lancer student body that he would shave his head before Friday’s hotly anticipated rivalry game against Rockhurst if the community raised $10,000 for pediatric cancer research in honor of the team’s Pinky Swear All-Star, Tyler Regier.
With just days left to go before the deadline, the campaign was still a couple of thousand dollars short of its goal. Organizer Nikol Terrill said she was confident that some last minute donor would step up to get them past the $10,000 mark — but she wasn’t expecting anything like the phone call she got from 1998 graduate Mike Kirby.
After seeing coverage of the kickoff of the event, Kirby reached out to five fellow members of the ’97-’98 varsity basketball team to see if they would help make a group donation.
“The six of us have remained close friends since high school, and with our ties to both the SME Basketball Program and Coaches Shawn Hair and [coach] Ryan Oettmeier, this was an easy cause for us to rally behind,” Kirby said. “Not to mention, five of the varsity Seniors from ’98 went to Briarwood where Tyler’s mom is a teacher, and many of us have kids around Tyler’s age.”
With the help of family and friends, the basketball players put together 11 donations totaling $12,800. With that donation, the Pinky Swear fundraising total reached $21,416 as of Wednesday evening.
That meant Hair spent his Thursday morning in the SM East gym having his head shaved by members of the current varsity team.
The six 1998 basketball players who put together the donation are Kirby, Allen Jones, J.D. Lebow, Chad Feingold, Grant Jones and Michael Fannen. Kirby said at least three of the players plan on attending Friday’s game against Rockhurst to see the results of the group donation: Hair’s shiny pate.
“I am totally blown away by your generosity,” Hair told the group in an email. “I am so proud of you guys – thanks so much for stepping up and supporting this great cause. I am very proud of this community and the class of 98 deserves to be recognized for their outstanding contributions.”
You can check out Hair’s shiny dome for yourself tomorrow as the Lancers face Rockhurst at 7 p.m. at SM East.