Local boy donates 40 inches of his hair to help children

Local boy donates 40 inches of his hair to help children

Over the past two years, Grayson Sample has developed a simple hair care routine.

Every day, she put a lot of shampoo on her long blonde locks and then dried her hair and brushed it.

Every two months, I would visit Myka Wetzel at The Buzz Hair Design Studio in downtown Seymour to style it.

However, earlier this month, he decided to change his routine.

The boy Seymour, 9 years old, chose to cut his hair to benefit other children. He had grown more than half of his back.

“I didn’t want him to leave,” his mother, Brittany Johnson, said with a smile. “He was fine with taking care of long hair, but he was ready. A couple of weeks ago, he was like, ‘I think I’m ready to donate my hair,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, dude. It’s okay. Just tell me when you’re ready. He woke up one day, they were getting ready to go to school, and he said, ‘Okay, you can call that lady now.’”

After finishing his day at Emerson Elementary School in Seymour on Oct. 10, Sample had his mother take him to The Buzz to get a haircut.

Johnson took photos of him before they entered the store and a few more when he was in Wetzel’s chair, then went on to capture the moment Wetzel pulled his son’s hair into four pigtails and cut them off.

Sample was able to see Wetzel the entire time.

“There were mirrors everywhere,” he said, smiling. “I was like, ‘Yay!'”

When Wetzel was done, he had cut more than 40 inches of Sample’s hair. Johnson said that to donate to Wigs for Kids, a lock of hair must be at least 10 inches long.

“His were over 10 inches,” he said. “It could help more than one person. It will go to multiple wigs, not just one specific one. Now they have beautiful wigs with real hair.”

Founded by certified cosmetic therapist Jeffrey Paul, Wigs for Kids is a nonprofit hair donation organization that has been serving children experiencing hair loss since 1981, according to wigsforkids.org.

Wigs for Kids is a cooperative effort among certified service providers across North America who share a common goal.

“Kids shouldn’t have to worry about how they look, especially when they’re in the middle of a health crisis,” Paul said. “We want to give these kids a chance to feel good about themselves again.”

The cost of hair replacement systems offered by Wigs for Kids is approximately $1,800, the website indicates.

“These are custom-made hair replacements,” Paul said. “Each prosthetic is hand tied and made entirely of human hair. We make sure they look like a child’s hair. They won’t be out on the ball field or playground. Children can count on them. And since the children look the same as before, they feel better about themselves. They look in the mirror and their eyes light up. Seeing that light in his eyes, that’s priceless.”

Sample said that when she held her strands of hair, she felt happy knowing that she was helping the children. It was a proud moment for mom.

“They made fun of him, they called him a girl wherever he went, so just for him to stand his ground and not cut himself off just because people have their boy-girl opinions, that was hard,” she said. “But I am proud of him. He didn’t cut it. He didn’t hear about the bullying at school. He just let it go. It’s like, ‘I’m going to help people.’”

Sample was in first grade when she decided to stop cutting her hair and let it grow out.

“It was my thing. He would do this hair-flipping thing, and I liked it, and I was like, ‘Let’s keep it long for a while, dude,’ and he was like, ‘Okay,'” Johnson said. “That’s what he told everyone for a while, ‘Well, Mom likes long.’ Then we got into this phase where he was like, ‘I think I’m going to keep growing it so I can donate it.'”

Johnson said other people thought he was joking, but he wasn’t.

“That was all of it,” he said. “He came home from school one day and brought it up, and I was like, ‘Well, that’s fine.’”

After recently getting a haircut, everyone was shocked when they saw photos of Johnson on Facebook.

“No one knew we were doing it,” Johnson said. “It was a big thing on Facebook. Everybody was like, ‘Oh my God!’ because they loved his hair. All the women were like, ‘My God! His hair.’ It was nice to have all the support. Everyone was really proud of him.”

Now the third grader said he is growing his hair back so he can donate it to children in need.

“Are we going to let it get that long or a little shorter or longer?” Johnson asked his son.

“If Dad lets me keep it any longer, then I will,” Sample responded.

Sample just started his first year in Seymour Swish basketball, and he’s seen a big change this year playing that sport.

“It’ll be nice not to have to put on ponytails, huh?” Johnson told his son.

“It will be our first year without ponytails in basketball games,” he said with a laugh.

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