Many New Canaanites by now have heard about New Canaan High School Latin teacher David Harvey’s plan to attend school Friday with his hair dyed pink.
An incentive for a fundraising effort that will benefit a summer camp for kids who have cancer or who have had cancer, the deal was that if an extracurricular club dedicated to Camp Rising Sun could raise more than $200, Harvey would come to school with pink-dyed hair on Friday. (They raised $279.66.)
It’s an especially meaningful effort for Rising to the Cure Club founder Olivia Park, a 17-year-old NCHS senior who has attended the camp in Colchester, Conn. every year since she was seven, the summer after she was diagnosed with a tissue cancer (she has been in remission for 10 years).
Hearing the story, town resident and local builder Arnold Karp decided to step up and encourage the club to exceed its original goal: He’s offering a dollar-for-dollar match for any additional funds, up to $1,000, that Olivia and the others can raise through next Friday.
“They got a teacher to dye his hair pink, so I’m prepared to let them fundraise with his pink hair for a week, since it’s a good cause,” said Karp, head of Karp Associates downtown and participant in the Connecticut Challenge bike ride for cancer survivors.
“It’s a kid who started something that’s just great, and I think supporting kids in high school who have a philanthropic edge, and understand that not everybody is as lucky as they may be, is important. The teacher, I’m sure, is not thrilled to dye his hair pink, so I’m prepared to support him, too.”
Harvey, a 1971 NCHS graduate who has been working in the district since 1983, readily accepted.
“I don’t’ know what the kids’ reaction will be,” Harvey said of his arrival at school Friday.
It isn’t clear just how the logistics will work next week—Harvey said he’ll try to figure out blocks of time when he can tour the cafeteria with the club members as they attempt to raise more funds.
Park said she’s “very excited to see that someone is willing to give back to such a great cause.
“But I’m also surprised,” she said. “I didn’t expect this little fundraising event at the high school to turn into something so big. I thought it would just be Mr. Harvey dying his hair pink and that would be it, but now I’m getting interviewed and people wanting to donate more money. It makes me feel awesome that we will be getting a lot more money than I thought we would.”
Asked what it means to her that Harvey is willing to “go pink” for a full week rather than just a way, Park said: “It means a lot to me, especially since I didn’t even know him until I introduced myself to ask if he would be willing to dye his hair pink. He had no idea about my story or who I was, yet he’s wanting to do this for such a great cause. I didn’t think he would be going this far with the hair dye and it means the world to me that he’s willing to do this for someone he barely knows.”