After a year and half of growing out his hair and enduring taunting from other kids, 10 year old Johnathan Core made a donation Thursday of 12 inches of hair to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients, live on TVO.
Johnathan, a student at Tecumseh Public School, was inspired to grow his hair when, at age 9, he saw a young girl on the TVO Kids show, The Space, who was wearing a wig.
His mom, Kim, said Johnathan saw the story in summer, 2014, on TVO Kids about a little girl with an illness and who was bald.
“They asked her if she was teased about it and she said, no, because people donated their hair for wigs,” Kim said. “He decided right on the spot he was growing his hair to donate for other kids that might need it due to illness or cancer.”
He decided to write to the girl care of TVO Kids to tell her how much her story inspired him and was surprised to learn that the show wanted to be on hand when he had his hair cut for the donation. Kim said that only about 1 in 50 donors of hair are male and most of those are adults.
“When they asked if he’d be comfortable doing a live interview and broadcasting the haircut, he was nervous but hoped he could inspire other kids too,” Kim explained. “I’m so proud of him. Even though people made fun of him and called him a girl, it didn’t stop him from doing it.”
So live, via Skype, Johnathan had his long blond hair put into two braids by Tropical Paradise stylist Laurel O’Donnell, and then cut off while being interviewed by The Space host Kara Harun. Nervously rubbing his hands together, Johnathan answered Harun’s questions, a question from a TVO Kids caller and then had his hair styled back to a shorter look.
His parents, Kim and Chris were on hand, along with his teacher, Wilma Hunninck, and other staff and family members.
When asked what the hardest part of growing his hair out was, Johnathan told the Voice that standing up to bullies was the toughest.
“I was told I looked like a girl and when I told them what it was for, some people listened, but some people didn’t care that it would hurt me more and kept on doing it,” Johnathan said.
After the interview, and feeling lighter, Johnathan said he was glad he did the interview, but was also glad it was over and he could relax.
His teacher said the school was happy to support Johnathan with a Loonies for Locks event last week to collect money for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“Johnathan and his friends have done a great job going around to classes to collect donations from the school,” Hunninck said. “When I heard what he was doing, I thought it was a unique thing he was doing and we should support him. You hear of girls doing this but not boys. He had been teased but when he told them what he was doing it for, it really made them think and gave them food for thought.”