Two years ago, 8-year old Christian McPhilamy decided to grow his hair but not as a style choice. Upon seeing a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital commercial about children with cancer, he decided he wanted to help. It was that desire that was the impetus for him to grow out his hair.
Though chastised by fellow children because of waist-length hair, Christian trudged on never once asking to get it cut. With this tenacity, he eventually reached his goal. With the two years of growth, he was able to donate 40 inches of his hair to Children With Hair Loss, the nonprofit founded in 2000 that procures wigs and hair for children who’ve lost theirs from radiation and chemotherapy, or other conditions and illnesses.
Though he may not think of himself as a hero, his mother, Deeana Thomas thinks he is, “He has endured an awful lot of criticism, and yes even bullying, throughout this time,” Thomas posted on Facebook. “From his peers calling him a girl to even coaches and family friends telling him he should cut it or offering him money to.”
After seeing an ad for hair donations while researching St. Jude’s, Christian’s mom explained that children with cancer often lose their hair due to treatment. It was then that Christian made up his mind to do his part.
The 8-year old Floridian donated his hair this week. According to Christian, it feels good to have short hair again though there are no regrets about what it took to reach this accomplishment.
It is possible that humanitarians are born not made, and this story seems to confirm that theory. For Christian, it might be an innate altruism. For an adult, it should be our obligation to become invested in the communities around us that need help. If an 8-year old can, why can’t we?