AFTER surviving a hair-raising Grand Final, Fremantle cheer squad stalwart Dennis Hambling, 65, may be set to lose all of his luxurious locks.
The oldest of three generations of Victorian-based Docker fans, Dennis will shave his beard of 32 years if son Mark, 34, raises $1000 for the World’s Greatest Shave in honour of his son Mason, 4, who is being treated for Burkitt’s leukaemia.
If Mark’s “Grandpa’s Challenge” raises $5000, Dennis will shave his hair as well. Mark already sports a bald head. "I was bald all the way through Mason’s treatment,” he says.
Mason has battled the condition bravely since last year, and is now in remission. All three generations love their Dockers. They were rapt to make last year’s Grand Final against Hawthorn, but devastated when they lost. What better way to start the new season than raising money for a good cause?
The March 13-16 World’s Greatest Shave raises about half the money the Leukaemia Foundation needs to fund its work – supporting people with blood cancer and research into their conditions.
Dennis and Mark attended the Grand Final but Mason didn’t as he finished his treatment in early September and would have struggled to handle the big crowd and noise. Everyone is hopeful of going one better this year – on and off the field.
“Getting players like Morabito, Griffin and Bradley back, along with the new arrivals Gumbleton and Sylvia, should make for a strong side,” Mark says. "Hopefully we can also avoid too many injuries.” -/2
Mason is now doing “fantastic”. (He’s) full of energy and no stop button,” Mark says. “Tuesday we went to Erskine Falls near Torquay and he was able to walk down and up all 560 steps, which to us is amazing considering 12 months ago he couldn't get out of bed without crying.”
If successful, Dennis’s big shave will take place at half time of the Round 1 clash between Collingwood and Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Friday, March 14. To sponsor Mark visit: http://my.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/Grandpaschallenge
AFLFA president Brian Clarke says this is a heart-warming example of how footy brings joy to fans in good times and bad. “A shared love of footy has helped Mason and his family to cope with his illness and will also provide a stage for the great shave if Mark reaches his target. Let’s hope all footy fans get behind them and force Dennis to have his first shave in 32 years.”
The AFLFA provides a voice for AFL fans across Australia on issues affecting them such as ticketing, rules, game times, commercialisation and memberships. AFLFA membership is free and anyone can join at www.aflfans.org.au.