Dhillon Barbetti recalls walking past the closed barber shops during the lockdown and remarking to a friend that he wanted to use the time to grow his hair out.
He had let his hair grow once before to donate to those in need, but this time he wanted to take his effort’s a step further by raising money for a good cause. “I feel very lucky in my life. During COVID a lot of people’s lives changed and nothing crazy happened to me. I wanted to give a gift of giving,” said Barbetti, a graduate student in the MBA program and a catcher on the CU men’s baseball team.
After doing an internet search, he was intrigued by the non-profit “Children with Hair Loss” that provides free hair replacements for children and young adults facing medically-related hair loss. He gave the Michigan-based organization a call and then started raising awareness with friends and family including reaching out to Marissa Haynes, assistant director of student engagement in the University’s Student Life Office, and his baseball coach Hasani Whitfield. Haynes and Whitfield helped Barbetti with logistics and getting the word out. The baseball team chipped in too.
In one month, Barbetti raised $2,250 and then “dropped 9 and ½ inches” of his hair. His mother decided at the last minute to get on board too, cutting off 13 inches of her hair.
The fundraising campaign proved to Barbetti that everyone can make a difference. “Hair and health—someone else is wishing for that,” said the West Long Branch, New Jersey resident who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science from Caldwell. “It is really important to count your blessings and what you do have.”
Barbetti’s work is catching the attention of others. Recently a former teammate from a collegiate summer team, who now plays for a minor league baseball team, contacted him to see how he could go about the process of donating his hair. “I showed him the easy steps,” Barbetti said. “It’s great to connect with people from the past, especially those chasing their dream, pausing for a second, and helping those in need.”
Learning about the process of fundraising has inspired Barbetti to think about how he could do more of it in his life. “It is definitely something I want to get into in the future.”