Craig teen ignores bullies to help children with hair loss
- Hair should be at least 8 inches in length; longer is preferred.
- Hair must be clean and dry, pony-tailed and/or braided (this keeps the hair in one direction).
- Place a rubber band or ponytail holder on each end.
- Non-chemically treated hair is preferred, but any hair in good condition will be accepted.
- Gray hair is accepted.
CRAIG — When a child loses his or her hair due to cancer treatments, alopecia, trichotillomania, burns or other medical reasons, the effects go far deeper than the cosmetic, and one Craig teenager wanted to help.
In 2015, Brandon Madsen was 13 when he decided to grow his hair long for the second time.
“I grew it out before when I was nine, because I like the look of it. It was about seven inches long, and my teacher said that if my mom didn’t cut it that she would. So my mom sent me to school with a red, white and blue Mohawk.”
This time, it wasn’t only about the look. Brandon had a mission — to donate his hair to be made into wigs for children who have lost their own hair as a result of medical conditions.
“I went to the cancer benefit with the Broncos, and I decided that I wanted to help out. I found this to be the best way that I could, and I plan to keep doing it every year,” he said.
After researching a number of organizations, Madsen chose to donate his hair to Children With Hair Loss, a charitable organization based in Michigan, because it provides free wigs to children and young adults up to age 21 who are medically-related hair loss.
“I looked to Wigs for Kids and Locks of Love, but they cost a lot of money to the kids to get the wigs,” Madsen said. “I didn’t want the kid to pay $500 to $5,000 just to get a wig. I didn’t think it would be right.”
Children with Hair Loss’ motto is “covering young heads to heal young hearts.”
Volunteers at the organization were busy preparing for their biggest fundraiser of the year and were unavailable for comment, but a visit to the organization’s website or social media account shows photos and videos of joyful donors and grateful recipients.
Brandon imagines his hair will help a child feel normal again.
He’s had his own experience with being bullied because of his looks.
“When I was in public school, it was almost every day. They made fun that I looked like a girl, threatened to cut it themselves. I’d be going through Wal-Mart or City Market and hear someone say, ‘How’s it going, ladies?’ I’ve gotten so used to it, it’s not even funny,” Brandon recalled. “It made me want to keep going, because they don’t get to choose how my life goes. I want to do this. It’s my choice.”
Brandon’s mother, Jauneth, believes her son’s character grew right along with his hair.
“In the beginning, it really made him shut down,” she said. “As his hair got longer and he got closer to his goal, he gained confidence and has been able to address those bullies a little better.”
Brandon hopes that, when people ask about his hair, they will hear his story and consider donating their own locks
“Don’t be afraid to do it. If you want to do something, just do it; don’t be a sheep,” he said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
One doesn’t necessarily need to know Beka Warren personally to recognize her name as one of Northwest Colorado’s biggest champions of health equality for underserved populations and a tireless advocate for ensuring local resources exist for victims of crime and trauma.