Most people choose to change their hairstyles every once in a while as a way to switch up their style. In fact, one study has found that 44% of women decide to change their hairstyle because they’re bored, while another 61% do so because they want a change.
But despite being teased for looking like a girl, one 8-year-old boy grew out his hair for two years for a completely different reason: to donate this hair to children who had lost theirs.
According to Time, second grader Christian McPhilamy, of Melbourne, FL, cut the hair he’d been growing and produced four 10-inch-long ponytails. On May 20, he sent his locks to Children With Hair Loss, a Michigan-based nonprofit foundation that gives hair replacements and wigs to children at no cost.
“Christian has such a huge heart,” Christian’s mom, Deeanna Thomas, said. “I don’t even know if there are words to describe how proud I am of him.”
In a Facebook post, Thomas explained that McPhilamy endured his fair share of teasing and even bullying for choosing to grow out his hair, “from his peers calling him a girl to even coaches and family friends telling him he should cut it or offering him money to.”
But what inspired McPhilamy to think of donating his hair in the first place?
It all started one evening two years ago, when Thomas and her son were browsing the Internet to find things that interested him. While Christian usually looked up information about animals, that night he stumbled across an ad from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for hair donations.
After listening to Thomas’ explanation that cancer patients often accept hair donations to conceal their hair loss, Christian’s mind was made up — and no one could change his mind, Mashable reported.
“Usually when Christian sets his mind to something, he pretty much goes with it,” Thomas said. “He doesn’t let anything falter his goals. I was pretty confident that he was actually going to follow through with it.”