|Jaiden Duncan grew out his hair for nearly four years so he could make a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society’s wig-making program. (Submitted)|
It’s been nearly four years, but the end has come Jaiden Duncan’s long, wavy, chestnut-coloured hair – literally. That’s how long the young man has been growing it to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society’s wig-making program.
“From the nape of his neck to the longest length, it’s 13.5 inches,” said Elicia Ganderton, Duncan’s mom, who’s a hairstylist. “His hair is longer than mine!”
At 10 years old, and while still in elementary school, Duncan made the decision to begin growing his hair after his mom’s colleague grew hers out for a donation. “At first, I think he just agreed with me (to) agree with me, but then it became the plan and he really stuck to it.”
But that doesn’t mean that Duncan’s hair hasn’t seen scissors in that long: he’s had trims—but the bare minimum is removed—to help keep his hair healthy and to keep it growing.
And although he’s stuck to the plan, the mother-son duo say the plan has seen some changes along the way.
“Originally, I was going to do two years,” explained Duncan. “Then three, and now we’re here and I said no again. I’m only cutting it now because of the deadline.”
The Canadian Cancer Society announced in November that as of Dec. 31, they would no longer be taking hair donations. The reasoning for this, says a news release on the Society’s webpage, is that in recent years, synthetic-hair technology has advanced to the point where they are the preferred choice for many cancer patients.
So although the most recent plan was to cut his locks on the four-year anniversary of his decision, which would have been in May 2019, Duncan has had to push forward his plans.
But “cancer is really personal to our family,” said Ganderton. “I had a go-around with cancer when I was 19, my mom went through thyroid cancer two years ago, and I lost a very, very good friend to brain cancer two years ago.”
And that’s why it’s so important for Duncan to donate his hair to cancer patients specifically. So with that in mind, he scheduled a December appointment at the Great Clips where his mother works to chop it all off, and he picked her birthday, Dec. 5.
“It’s just such a selfless thing he’s doing,” said Ganderton. “It makes me really proud, and it makes me really happy.”
And although she is a hair stylist, Ganderton wasn’t the one finally cutting her son’s hair. “I (had) somebody else do it for me (because it was) far too emotional for me and I (cried).”
However, that said, both of Duncan’s parents did participate in the cutting: the stylist made six braids, and each of his parents cut one off while a small group of supporters watched and cheered them on.
“I think everyone who’s close to him will be sad to see it go,” Ganderton continued, “but they understand why (he cut) it. I think it will be weird for everyone to suddenly see him with no hair.”
In addition to donating his hair, Duncan was also able to raise more than $200 dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society.