Fellow firefighters, friends and family members of Central Coventry Fire Captain and Coventry CERT Instructor Bill Hall will gather on Thursday for an evening full of food, live music from local band "Here Again" and lots of hair clippings, as about 90 percent of the district's firefighters will be shaving their heads to support Bill and his family. The event will be held at Olde Theater Diner from 7-11 p.m.
Captain Hall was recently diagnosed with metastasized Liposarcoma, an uncommon form of cancer that is very difficult to treat once spread. He has been receiving a standard course of chemotherapy once every three weeks at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston along with CAT scans every other treatment to check its effectiveness. This diagnosis came shortly after Bill had undergone surgery to remove two cancerous tumors earlier in the year. He and his family are in for a tremendous battle, but it is one that they fully intend to win.
Aside from Bill's CCFD and Local 3372 brothers, members of the public are invited to cheer him on while watching (and participating if they're willing) members of Coventry's Ultra and GQ barber shops while they chop and buzz the hair off of most of the district's membership.
$10 donations will be collected at the door and will go towards helping Bill's family during this trying time, especially to keep the heat on in their home as the weather gets cooler and the chemotherapy treatments weaken Bill's immune system.
Firefighter Joe Bourquin explained that the event started out pretty small, with a group of CCFD members planning to grab some pizza and shave their heads to show their support, but it quickly escalated when word got out.
"All of the barbers are donating their time and equipment and most of them initiated this," he said. "We didn't call or ask anyone to do this. The guys from Ultra have even offered free haircuts to any of our firefighters while they're not getting paid. It's really great of them."
Bourquin also stated that the band "Here Again" reached out to him and offered to play at the event free of charge as one of the members is a Cranston firefighter and knew Bill from when he volunteered in Coventry years ago. Owners of The Olde Theater Diner also provided the venue for free.
"People are really coming out of the woodwork and stepping up to the plate to help out," he said.