Braving the Shave: Alex Davis

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After losing his dad to leukaemia two years ago, England 7s flyer Alex Davis wanted to do something to honour his memory in the best possible fashion. Teaming up with his fellow 7s squad members, Alex led the way as they braved the shave and raised more than £13,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. In his own words, this is Alex’s story.

Exceeding Expectations

I’m extremely proud of our efforts. Our initial target was £5,000 and we thought that was very achievable and something we could easily hit. As it turned out we surpassed our target within the first few weeks and decided to push for £10,000. The night before the shave we had a flurry of donations and before we knew it we had raised over our fundraising target, finishing with the incredible amount of £13,285. It’s something I’m immensely proud of and I share that feeling with the rest of the lads and management. It was such a special experience and for such an important cause.

A Cause Close To My Heart

My dad passed away from leukaemia just over two years ago. It was devastating and has been something my family and I have had to deal with since. My dad was an amazing man who always knew how to make the most out of a bad situation. We miss him every day but the memories we share will forever bring a smile to our faces. With hair loss being one of the main side-effects of cancer treatment I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to mark a significant date for my family by taking part in such a memorable event. It was extremely special to have the support of my teammates and the entire England 7s programme. At first I was planning on doing the shave by myself but to have the lads join in with me and show their support meant even more to me and my family. My emotions are still very raw, however this has been the most positive step in moving forward, while also raising significant awareness around the amazing work Macmillan does for cancer sufferers and their families.

 

 

Opening Up

The whole experience has made such an impact on me and I can’t speak highly enough of the importance of reaching for support during difficult times. Following the completion of the challenge I tried my best to put into words what the support meant to me and thank all my teammates and staff for getting behind the shave. To be honest it took a fair bit of courage to get the words out in front of everyone and I didn’t really end up being able to say what I really wanted to. It was the first time I had spoken publicly and openly about my dad and the effect his death had had on me. What I found though was once I got those emotions out, I felt a massive sense of relief. I realised everyone in that room was there to listen to me and wanted to be there to support me. It was one of the most incredible moments of my life.

 

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The Rugby Family

The support we received from the rugby community was amazing. As a player we often take for granted how big the rugby family is and what a big support network we all have. No matter who you are, people are so willing to help you in any way they can. The widespread response was unbelievable. We tried our best to promote it through social media and obviously received excellent support from family and friends. But the most amazing aspect was the huge support we received from complete strangers who saw what we were trying to do and wanted to help.

An Easy Sell

It was definitely an easy sell to my teammates but at the same time there’s a few lads who are more precious about their hair than others. Obviously at the time we were about to fly out to play in Dubai so there were a lot of guys worried about burning their heads in the sun. It didn’t take long though for the lads to get on board and start fundraising. Once they understood the real meaning behind the challenge and the fantastic charity we were supporting it was a very easy decision.

 

 

Rocking The New Look

It really pains me to say it but Ollie Lindsay-Hague probably pulled the shaved head look off the best. He even recently went for the slim shady blonde look too, so as you can imagine he rocked it extremely well. One player who didn’t necessary flourish with a shaved head was Ruaridh McConnochie. He got given the nickname Voldemort. Tom Bowen is another guy who didn’t enjoy having his hair shaved off, he was too worried that it wouldn’t grow back.

A Shared Goal

As an England 7s squad we are really motivated to support important causes. We have completed Movember in recent years and Brave the Shave was an awesome challenge to get behind this season. Going forward we are driven to continue helping charity campaigns in any way we can. It brings the squad together to focus on a shared goal away from rugby and allows us to bond and build stronger relationships for when we do take to the pitch.