Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Hairy Situation

Yesterday, while I was trolling Pinterest, I came across an article about a kid who had been suspended from school because of his hair, rather the length of his hair. Turns out this kid, who wis a cancer survivor himself, was growing his hair out to donate to Locks of Love but his school has a policy in its dress code that requires all male students to keep their hair clean, tidy and above the collar.

I found this article interesting because we are knee deep in a similar situation. Well, about 9 inches deep. Dude has been growing his hair out for a little more than a year for the same purpose, only his school has been great about this.

Dude has never liked haircuts. He says he can hear the hairs being cut and he doesn't like how the hair dresser combs his hair opposite of how it naturally grows. For years we had a twice-a-year-no-fight, agreement with him; at the beginning of summer and just before Christmas he had to get his hair cut with no arguments, whining or fighting. The arrangement worked nicely for us for years, he went from shaggy to shaved twice a year and that was good enough for us.

In the fall of 2010, Mr. Awesome competed with his dragon boat team in support of cancer research. At the races we saw several teams of bald paddlers and the kids started asking questions. We explained that with cancer, sometimes the medicine they give you to get better causes you to lose your hair and that a popular fundraiser for this event is a sponsored head shave. We also talked about how people can grow their hair out pretty long and then cut it and donate it so wigs can be made for people who need them. That was the end of the conversation until December 2010.

Just before Christmas that year Dude told us he was willing to get his annual Christmas cut but that would be the last one for a while because he was planning on growing his hair out to donate. We said, "sure, sure," took him for his cut and went on with life. When June rolled around, we asked him how short he wanted to cut his hair for the summer and he reminded us of his plans; grow, cut and donate.

He has stuck to this plan for 14 months. He has tolerated teasing, ignorant comments and harassment from students at his school. There have been countless days when he has come home from school very upset because people have called him a girl, told him he's pretty or made other, harsher comments about his appearance. Each time we have asked him if he wanted to cut his hair. We've told him there are other ways to raise money and help out. Each time he told us he wanted to stick to his plan, despite everything that was happening at school.

Dude and his Locks
 October 2011
 His beautiful honey brown locks are nearly long enough now and he can't wait to get on with this. He's had a tough couple of weeks with some of the kids at school recently, tough enough where he was ready to throw in the towel last week but he's hanging on. I'm proud of him for his perseverance and his compassion. I am proud that he can see that a situation is bigger than himself and that his discomfort now will help relive the discomfort of a sick kid soon enough. I am proud of his dedication to do his part to help someone else out.

We are working on planning some kind of fundraiser for The Big Cut. During our research we discovered that it takes 10 -12 donations of hair and more than $1000 to make one wig. Dude hopes to inspire a few more people to donate their hair, maybe even enough to make one full wig, and to raise enough money to cover the cost of making the wig. Stay tuned for more details on the fundraiser!

One last thing, I do want to say that its not been all bad for Dude at school ... the long, rocker-locks are a big hit with the ladies and he's kind of digging that!

Long, beautiful, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen... I adore hair!
~James Rado and Gerome Ragni, Hair

1 comment:

Jessica Starkweather said...

I just LOVE what Dude is doing!!! I too, at the whines and protests of many who have always known me with long hair, am planning to cut off most of my hair to donate to Locks of Love in honor of my Mother-in-Law who died of cancer in September. But I am having a hard time figuring out how to also make it into a fund-raiser. What did you guys do to get people to give up some cash for a worthy cause??? Jekka