Get a haircut!

By on October 8, 2010

Mom learns on birthday why her son grew out his locks
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—The usual banter between mothers and sons about long hair took a sudden twist for Candy Miller and her son, Tommy McCartney, during Miller’s 50th birthday party in September.

McCartney, 23, whose hair was roughly six inches longer than it ever had been before, came clean that day: He announced that he was donating his eight-inch locks to Panteen Pro-V for wigs for cancer patients.

His gift not only was to cancer patients in need of quality wigs, but also was a present to his own mom, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February.

“It was a total surprise for me,” Miller said. “His hair was really getting long. I’d tell him, ‘You really need to get it cut. I’ll even pay for it,’ but he’d say, ‘I like it and I’m not getting it cut. I’m never cutting it again.’”
Tommy McCartney
McCartney had something more up his sleeve. He was inspired several months ago while riding in the car with his mom about three weeks after she started chemotherapy.

“I could tell that she was upset. I kept asking her what was wrong, but she wouldn’t say,” McCartney said. “Then she ran her fingers through her hair, and it was just falling out. It went through my mind that I could donate my hair for a wig for her, but I knew it was not long enough yet.”

His hair at that time was two to three inches long. The minimum requirement for donation is eight inches.

While growing out his locks, he didn’t tell anyone the reason except, eventually, his girlfriend, who liked the long hair at first but as the months passed, agreed with his mother. During those months, McCartney took a lot of teasing at every family party. He wanted to cut his hair at the beginning of September but the back wasn’t long enough yet.

In a wonder of timing, McCartney’s hair was long enough just in time for Miller’s big 50th birthday party at the end of the month. Not one to take the spotlight, McCartney waited for the 60-some party-goers to thin out to just close family and friends before making his move. With a cousin and a beautician relative, clippers in hand, McCartney pulled his mom aside.

“He said to me, ‘Mom, I’ve got another present for you. I want you to shave my head,’” Miller said.

Miller said her son’s gift made her very emotional and that his support meant a lot to her.

“I have always told him that he has the best heart,” Miller said.

McCartney realized his announcement was spur-of-the-moment, but he knew what it would mean to his mom.

“It felt good to see her happy,” he said. “It was nice to see her cry and be happy and not sad.”

Top Photo: Tommy McCartney and his mother, Candy Miller, smile after McCartney donated 8 inches of hair to Panteen Pro-V for cancer patient wigs. Miller was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February. Courtesy Photo