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Rowe School prof donates her hair for cancer patients: This time it's personal

Posted by Rowe School of Business on October 26, 2018 in News

“Breast cancer is very complicated and everyone’s journey is quite different.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Assistant Professor and School of Information Management alumnae Ellen T. Crumley of the Rowe School of Business will be donating 8 inches of her hair to “360 Hair”, an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients under 19 years old.

Too many women still die from breast cancer

When Professor Crumley accepted her position in July 2016, she didn’t know what her future held. Would she need more surgery, chemotherapy or radiation? Would she receive a devastating diagnosis? “I found out I had breast cancer about a month before I started at Dalhousie. I had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor in June and joined Dalhousie 2.5 weeks later. Then on July 18 my surgeon told me I needed a mastectomy because they didn’t have clean margins with the first surgery. Nine months later, on April 25, 2017, I underwent an 8-hour mastectomy and breast reconstruction with three surgeons just after my class’s final exam.”

Professor Crumley previously donated 13 inches of her hair in 2005. Because she did not need to go through chemotherapy, she decided to grow her hair to donate again. “This time it was personal. It was very important to me to be able to give back in some way.”

Crumley also gives back by sharing her experience as a patient—she had four surgeries from four surgeons at the Halifax Infirmary, VG and IWK from June 2016 to October 2017. She serves as a member of Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Perioperative/Surgical Care Provincial Council Quality Improvement and Safety Committee where “Surgeons and NSHA professionals from around the province meet quarterly. We share—and sometimes debate—our perspectives and discuss how we can improve surgical care and the patient experience in Nova Scotia.” She also volunteered to serve on the Plastics and Burns Quality Team at the Halifax Infirmary.

Crumley created an online donation page and within 48 hours she received $1400 in donations for breast cancer research (the total is now over $1500 and growing daily). “Everyone was so generous with their donations that I kept upping the goal every few hours! I started out with a goal of $200 and the first few donations surpassed it. Fellow faculty, friends, colleagues and students have been so supportive.” The fundraiser will close November 1.  

Professor Crumley is also one of the Faculty Advisors for Enactus Dalhousie, which is holding "Cuppa kombucha/coffee for cancer" with Pop Culture Brewing in the Rowe Building atrium on October 30 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Bring your cup for $3 kombucha or buy an Enactus mug with kombucha for $4. Bottled organic, fair-trade, cold-pressed coffee will also be available for $4.75. Profits will be added to the online campaign.

Photo taken April 28, 2017, 4 days after her 8-hr surgery at the Halifax Infirmary.