A cut for a cause
Andrew Carrothers has never had a more meaningful haircut.
The PhD candidate in the DeGroote School of Business grew his hair for nearly two year before he had it put in to four, nine-inch braids that were snipped off recently.
Carrothers’ lengthy locks, donated to the Beautiful Lengths initiative, will go a long way in raising the self-esteem of a cancer patient.
The Pantene-sponsored program provides wigs for cancer patients who have lost their hair after undergoing chemotherapy – an experience Carrothers knows all too well.
His late wife Wendy was diagnosed with cancer in 2003.
“One of the nasty things about cancer is that it not only makes you feel bad, it makes you feel bad about yourself,” said Carrothers, who watched as Wendy’s custom-made wig helped her regain a great deal of the confidence lost when her hair fell out during treatment.
Carrothers was just four months into his PhD studies when Wendy died and felt alone in his new environment. Even before returning to school, however, Carrothers was astonished by the overwhelming support of his fellow classmates, faculty and staff at the school.
“The community at DeGroote is nurturing, supportive and caring. When I was in a time of need there were people here to help me get through. I knew that I had absolutely made the right choice coming to DeGroote,” he said. “Everybody rallied around this person they didn’t really know. It really got me through the most difficult time of my life and I will always have the greatest respect for the people here.”
Carrothers said his long hair took some people in the business school by surprise.
“It raised a few eyebrows around here, but once I told people what I was doing they were incredibly supportive,” he said.
As he describes it, his hair is, “very thick, abundant, never dyed or permed and with little grey,” so it met the perfect criteria for donation.
“Sometimes people don’t know how to help with cancer but each person can find their own way to contribute,” he said. “In Wendy’s case, the esteem issues, to look and feel normal when going through cancer treatment, were a big deal.”
Carrothers encourages everyone to join the fight against cancer in a meaningful way.
“Every act of kindness matters,” he said.
Now, Carrothers looks to the future with optimism: “I’m doing this for a good reason and I know Wendy would be happy about this.”