Dalhousie first year student, Valentin Traclet found out in late November that his mother would be undergoing brain surgery in his hometown of Ottawa while he was at school in January.
His friends – Benn Fraser, Euan Hall, Jasper de Bie, and Warren Todd – knew they needed to help their friend through this difficult time.
They came up with the idea to shave their heads together.
“We actually considered it for a while before Christmas break and we weren’t completely set on it,” says Traclet. “Then we got back and we were like ‘I think it’s got to happen.’”
It wasn’t a question of whether or not it was going to happen – they knew it needed to be done, they just hadn’t figured out when it would happen.
“We all knew we’re all doing it at the same time, so even if one of us looks kinda like a fool, four other people are going to be looking the same way,” says Hall.
The big shave
On Saturday, Jan. 13 the boys entered the bathroom in Howe Hall residence to start shaving their heads.
“For Val, he went up first and like 10 different people were taking turns shaving his head, so it was pretty cool,” says Todd. “There was like 30 people in the bathroom just helping us.”
The bathroom was full of people taking turns shaving the boy’s heads. Making the moment even more special.
“Everyone wanted to be a part of it, just see what’s going on,” says de Bie.
During the interview the five boys sat in a row, cracking jokes about their newly shaved heads.
“We all kind of look the same now,” says Benn Fraser.
“It’s kind of like a brotherhood,” says Jasper de Bie
“We’ve been confused a lot,” says Warren Todd. “But I think definitely we’re always going to be super close; but if anything this is just another thing amongst a lot of other things that make us a really good group of friends.”
As for the surgery it went well, and Traclet’s mother is home recovering. The support has helped both Traclet and his mother.
“She was really happy with it,” says Valentin. “She’s never met any of these guys before, but to think that you met friends within first semester of school and they’re already doing great things like that, she was really touched by that.”
The group of five is made up of four boys who knew each other before attending Dalhousie, plus Valentin, but now they are inseparable after becoming fast friends during the first week of school.
“It’s the first time that I’ve really felt this much support to a specific situation, because it’s not an everyday situation, so it kind of just changed me in the way that, if my friends are doing this for me I should always be supporting the ones I’m close to as well,” says Traclet.
“It’s also nice to know that if anything happened to one of the five of us, or even one of our other friends it’s such a quick decision to back them up right away,” says Todd.
The boys will be continuing their journey through university together when they move into a house together with two other friends next year. Taking with them a memory they will never forget, and friendships that have grown into a brotherhood.