Meet Christian McPhilamy, just a regular 8-year-old boy from Melbourne, Florida. Except that for the past few years he has been doing something incredible, and arguably out of the ordinary for a boy his age.
Christian has been growing his beautiful blonde hair to donate to children who have lost theirs due to cancer. It took him two years to get his hair long enough to reach his back.
In all started during Christmas 2012, when he saw a TV commercial for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital featuring young cancer patients without hair.
His curiosity sufficiently piqued, he and his mom looked up the hospital during one of their nightly Googling rituals. When an ad for a hair donation charity popped up, he asked his mom what it meant. She explained that people can donate their hair to cancer patients who have lost theirs from chemotherapy.
“And he said, ‘I want to do that,’” his 28-year-old mother Deeanna Thomas recalled. “I was blown away.”
Before he started the project, Christian’s short hair was typical of other boys aged six.
But as time passed, his hair grew longer and longer. “Usually when Christian sets his mind to something, he pretty much goes with it. He doesn’t let anything falter his goals,” Thomas said. “I was pretty confident that he was actually going to follow through with it.”
When his hair started growing below the chin, Christian began receiving taunts and comments from adults and kids alike. “Sometimes they would call me a girl,” he said.
“Even out and about or at a park, he would be playing with a bunch of boys and they’d be like, ‘you look like a girl.’ And he would just explain to them. He held his head high and he never once said that he wanted to cut it off ever,” Christian’s mom added.
When one man confronted Christian about his ‘too-long hair’ and told him he needed to do something about it, Christian kindly let the man know of his mission. He offered a heartfelt apology right away.
As Christian’s hair grew longer, the comments became an everyday affair. Thomas got used to hearing “your daughters are so pretty” when she was out with Christian and his younger sister. While at the doctor, a physician greeted Christian with a cheery “oh, hey beautiful girl,” to which Christian calmly replied “I’m a boy”.
“It’s definitely inspiring to see kids starting so young with wanting to help and do good deeds,” said Christine Wong, COO of Children With Hair Loss, a charity that provides free wigs to kids who have lost their locks for various reasons such as cancer, alopecia, and burns. Wong estimates that only 1 in 50 donations to the organization come from boys.
When the time finally came for ‘the big haircut’, the entire family gathered in Christian’s room. His mom sectioned his hair into four parts and secured each with hair ties.
She then took the scissors and *SNIP!* Mission accomplished!
Christian’s hair produced four 10-inch long sections that he donated to Children With Hair Loss.
“My hands were shaking. My heart felt like it was going to explode,” Thomas said about the haircut. “It was just incredible.”
For Christian, it was a simple act and nothing more: “I just wanted to give a wig away.”