Metchosin girl criticized for charity haircut responds with kindness
Keilah couldn’t have been more enthusiastic to start the day. The nine-year-old even woke up early so her mom could flat-iron her hair.
“I was feeling really excited to go to school and show everyone my new (haircut),” Keilah smiles.
The girl has been been growing her hair long for five years, before cutting most of it off to donate to a wig-making charity for children with cancer.
“I really hope they enjoy it,” she said earlier in the week, while holding her 15-inch lock of hair. “I hope it makes them happy.”
Keilah also raised more than $1,600 for the cause, after her Nana unexpectedly died from leukaemia.
“I think Nana is looking down from heaven,” Keilah’s mom Marina says with a smile. “And is so proud of her granddaughter.”
When Marina met her daughter after school the next day, she was looking forward to hearing how proud the other kids were about Keilah’s caring.
“I saw her get off the bus and I could immediately see her eyes were swollen,” Marina recalls. “She got inside the truck and she just started sobbing.”
Keilah said she’d been crying at school after a group of kids made fun of her and said her hair was ugly.
“It literally tore my heart apart,” Keilah says.
“The mama bear comes out,” Marina says of her reaction. “You just want to make it right for your child.”
So Marina shared her daughter’s story on social media, pleading with parents to talk to their kids about the impact of bullying and the importance of kindness.
She also mentioned what Keilah was considering.
“If this is how I feel — really bad — how do kids with cancer feel when they got bullied?” Keilah wondered. “It broke my heart.”
The post inspired hundreds of comments and thousands of shares. The overwhelming positive responses included generous gifts from local businesses, including a $100 gift card.
But the most meaningful message of all, Keilah says, is a video from a 4-year-old.
“Thank you Keilah. You are so beautiful,” Jaime says. “It means so much to us.”
His sister says her little brother has leukaemia. His mom says Jamie’s hair is just starting to grow back after receiving treatment and their family wanted Keilah to know how meaningful it was that she donated her hair.
“You are so beautiful,” Jamie says before the video ends.
“That really made my day,” Keilah smiles.
Keilah says she felt empowered going to school the next day, and even received apologies.
Now, she’s planning to pay the positivity forward, by using that gift card to buy toys for kids in the hospital cancer ward.
“I just want to,” Keilah says. “I feel like they deserve it.”