One visit to the Greenville Children’s Hospital last year was all it took for Clemson offensive lineman Sean Pollard to realize he wanted to make a difference in the lives of children battling cancer.
After leaving the hospital in tears that day an idea came to his mind.
While a common phrase around Clemson Athletics is to be “All In,” last year Pollard teamed up with Clement’s Kindness Fund which is a program that helps Upstate families financially affected by pediatric cancer and other serious blood disorders. With their help Pollard created the “All Off for Cancer” event in which he and some of his teammates allowed the children to shave the player’s heads as a way to show support.
On Wednesday Pollard hosted the second annual “All Off for Cancer” event but this year the support grew tremendously. Many other Clemson athletic teams including men and women’s soccer, women’s basketball, volleyball, rowing, cheerleading and track and cross country all came out to the Allen Reeves Football Complex to show their support.
“God told me to do this,” Pollard said after the event. “I prayed on it and He’s the one that told me to do it. I really had no choice in it. Once He gave me the signal I decided to take it and run with it. Best is the standard in this program so why not try to make this the best thing possible?
“This is what it’s about. It’s not about me, it’s not about shaving our heads, it’s about the kids. They come out, they’re having ice cream, they’re having fun. They’re honestly not thinking about their cancer right now. They’re thinking about having fun and hanging out with student-athletes and that’s the biggest thing.”
Sandra Miller, who is an administrator for the Clement’s Kindness Fund, is beyond grateful for Pollard and all that he has done to support the local Upstate children battling this terrible illness.
“It’s just incredible,” Miller said. “I can’t even begin to explain how grateful we are for Sean. He has the biggest heart out of anyone we’ve ever met. He just wants to help these kids and how selfless is that? Here’s this guy that could be doing anything right now. He’s in college in the prime time of his life right now, having so much fun on a National Championship team. He stops everything and thinks of these kids first.
“He’s an incredible student, he’s an incredible athlete but most of all he’s so good to these patients. That’s what he cares about first and he just shows us that there’s hope for our future. He shows us that’s there’s people out there who really do care and want to make a difference in this world and it’s just incredible.”
Clemson kicker Greg Huegel did not think twice about supporting this cause when his friend and teammate, Pollard brought the idea to his attention and he gladly allowed patients to shave his head both years now.
“It’s an opportunity for our student athletes to become part of something that’s bigger than ourselves,” Huegel said. “Not have to focus on school, not have to focus on sports. Just going out there and being able to have a positive effect on the community.
“So when Sean brought it up last year he asked me, ‘Hey do you want to get this thing started?’ This was immediately after we visited the Children’s Hospital and I said, ‘Yeah, absolutely.’ It’s a phenomenal thing to do and hopefully we can grow year after year with it.”
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