What started out as a simple haircut has become an ongoing way to raise money to support families dealing with cancer.
Elmira’s Zack Forwell had been growing his hair to donate it to a group that makes wigs for people dealing with cancer treatments, but his grandfather had been offering him money to cut it. The latter became a route to raise money for the families of three area residents fighting cancer, Liam Moyer, BJ Goodwin and Todd Roes.
“He was trying to donate as a wig,” said Zack’s mother, Amy Forwell. “He said ‘I’m going to grow my hair out and then cut it off for a wig towards paediatric cancer.’”
Forwell’s oldest daughter and Zack’s sister had cancer when she was three years old and again at age 5.
Donated hair needs to be at least 10 inches long. With his hair having not quite reached that length, the Fowlers decided since Zack’s grandfather was willing to pay, maybe other people in the community would too.
“The Moyers son (Liam) was diagnosed in late-fall. Todd is a co-worker, and we knew of BJ from town,” she said of the recipients. Initially, the goal was to raise around $500-$1,000 split between the three families through a GOFUNDME page. The haircut was done February 12 by the Fowlers friend and neighbour, Tracey Mooder. The response to the cause was overwhelming, raising a total of $5,381.64 – $1,793.88 for each of the families.
“The family was surprised with the amount and grateful,” said Fowler.
With the current state of the world, Fowler was pleasantly surprised by the ongoing support, seeing as some people are out of work and are still willing to donate to a cause like her son’s.
Zack, too, was shocked by the amount he was able to raise. “I think it was nice for him to see the individuals on the weekend. I think it was touching for both BJ and Todd to meet Zack,” she said, noting the family had been supported when her daughter was being treated for cancer.
“The small community helped us a lot when Sarah was sick with support in many different ways.”
The family wanted to give back, having twice gone through that experience, she added.
“Knowing that an 11-year-old can make a difference is something that people can forget. Little things can make big, big changes.”
Seeing friends, family members, community members and random people who did not know Zack or the families involved yet offer assistance was a heartwarming event during these distressing times, said Forwell.