Once in awhile, we get a much-needed reminder that the world is more than a breeding ground for megalomaniacs, Twitter trolls, and stress-induced adult acne. This week, that reminder came in the form of Phoebe Kannisto and her six sons, who grew their hair out 17 feet to donate it to children with medically-related hair loss.
On Monday, Kannisto and her sons, 10-year-old Andre, eight-year-old identical twins Silas and Emmerson, and five-year-old fraternal triplets Herbie, Reed, and Dexter went to the Hizair Hair Salon to chop off a total of 17 feet of hair, and donate it to Children with Hair Loss, a non-profit organization that provides free hair replacements to children and young adults suffering from medically-related hair loss. The salon brought the family in after-hours, and didn’t charge them for the cuts.
For Kannisto and her boys, the decision to donate was deeply personal.
“Three year ago, my friend lost her son to cancer,” Kannisto told the HuffPost. “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 has been donating her hair since she was a teenager. For this donation, the family had to wait until everyone’s hair was long enough, which meant Andre grew his hair out for a year, the twins grew theirs out for two years, and the triplets grew their hair out for five years. Some of the boys have gotten unwanted attention because of their long hair.
“One son has been teased more than others,” Kannisto admitted. “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.”
Still, the bullying wasn’t enough to change their minds. The family is already planning their next hair donation so Marah Taylor, Kannisto’s two-year-old daughter who was too young to donate this time, can participate.
“I love that they want to help other children,” Kannisto said. “They’re already making predictions on how long it will take them to grow out their hair to donate again.”