Watching a loved one deal with any type of illness is never easy; we oftentimes feel like there is nothing we can do to help out or to make them feel better. That is how Jonathan Holloway, a ninth grader at Upson-Lee High School, felt when his aunt Joyce Smith was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a form of cancer, two years ago.
“He told me one night while discussing Relay for Life, that he wanted to help, but there was not much he could do as a kid,” said his mother, Georgette Holloway. “I told him there was always something that could be done and that’s when I suggested he donate his hair to Locks of Love.”
Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hair-pieces and wigs to those suffering from long term medical hair loss. After talking with his mother, Jonathan liked the idea of donating his hair to those who needed it, because watching his aunt lose her hair after chemotherapy was the hardest part to him. He stated that seeing her without hair made her illness all that more real to him and it even got to the point that he wouldn’t go in her room to visit unless she had a hat on. Therefore, this seemed like the perfect way to help out.
Jonathan grew his hair for two years before cutting it this past May for the donation, where he ended up with four pony tails, 11 inches long each to send to the organization. However, the road to shorter hair was not always an easy one and he oftentimes endured teasing and bullying for his long locks. But he was able to hold his head high and not let those who picked on him get him down.
“It really didn’t bother me that much,” said Jonathan. “I was on my own little road not listening to them, but once they found out what I was doing it for, most of them stopped.”
Jonathan also had the support of his family and friends that thought it was a great thing he was doing. But he was not alone for long, with both his father Tim and his younger sister Kaylen joining in on the donation making it truly a family affair. All together the family donated more than two feet of hair to the cause.
The thought that her family was doing all of this because of her, warmed Smith’s heart, who thankfully is now in remission.
“It made me feel great that they wanted to help,” said Smith. “I always knew they cared for me, but this really just showed how much they did.”