These 6 boys were bullied for growing out their hair for a good cause.
When mom Phoebe Kannisto gave birth to her six sons (two of which are identical twins and three of which are fraternal triplets) she knew it would be hard but had no idea how much of a blessing they would be for both her and other people. Her road to motherhood has been bumpy, but she now has six beautiful sons and a daughter ranging from ages 10 to 2 and they are all interested in one common thing: helping others with cancer.
Kannisto told Huffington Post how her family is personally affected and said that her and her boys found the perfect way for them to help others suffering from this horrible and often fatal disease; the seven grow out their hair and donate it to people with cancer that suffer from hair loss as a result of their treatment.
“Three years ago, my friend lost her son to cancer,” she said. “He was a twin and very close in age to my twins. On the first anniversary of his passing, my three oldest boys donated their hair in his memory. Since their donation two years ago, our lives have continued to be touched by cancer. It’s everywhere. My boys want to help, and donating their hair is how they do it.”
Kannisto and her oldest son, Andre (10 years old), 8-year-old identical twin sons Silas and Emerson, and 5-year-old fraternal triplets Herbie, Reed and Dexter all visited their local Hizair Hair Salon to finally cut their hair after years of growing it out. For Andre, it only took a year to grow out his hair, but for her twins it took almost two years and for her triplets it took five years.
After they were finally all able to donate the minimum amount required, they went to the salon, where the stylists refused to take any payment for the haircuts, despite working after hours to get the job done. By the end, they measured the hair and found that they would be donating a total of 17 feet of hair between the 7 of them. As for Kannisto’s 2-year-old daughter, Marah Taylor, she wasn’t able to donate just yet but visited the salon with them.
“She watched in awe,” Kannisto said. “[Her brothers] are great role models.”
Unfortunately, the road to this awesome donation has not always been easy. Kids can be cruel, especially elementary-aged children who don’t know better than to make fun of children doing something for a good cause. Sadly, Kannisto remarked that even grown adults have made fun of her boys as well. As a result, most of her sons were at some point bullied for their long hairstyles because it’s apparently only the type of hairstyle a girl would have, but all 6 boys were steadfast in their choice to continue growing their hair.
“One son has been teased more than the others,” she said. “He and I have had many tear-filled conversations over the last several months. He explains the process of hair donation to his peers, and some of them just don’t get it.”
Kannisto said that her sons have developed a thick skin in order to block out the hateful comments and they are all the stronger and braver for it. They all have their next donations planned as well, despite the high likelihood of them facing mean bullies in the future for their choice. Kannisto has said that she has felt so proud of her children and that what they’re doing is “amazing,” as their mission to help others far outweighs any negative vibes they get from others.
“I love that they want to help other children,” she told HuffPost. “They’re already making predictions on how long it will take them to grow their hair out to donate again.”