Photo by Sydney Cromwell.
Daniel Morales, an eighth-grade student at Bumpus Middle School, is growing out his hair to donate to cancer victims.
Middle school boys don’t usually decide to grow their hair out to donate for cancer victims’ wigs. Daniel Morales knows this, but he decided to do it anyway.
The eighth-grade student at Bumpus Middle School has been growing out his hair since the beginning of summer. Daniel had a classmate with cancer, now in remission, and several students decided to shave their heads as a show of support. When Daniel learned about the local Hope for Autumn Foundation, he wanted to do something, too.
“Daniel said, ‘Well, I don’t want to waste my hair,’” his mother, Sas Morales, said.
It’s not the first time Daniel has found a way to give back to others. He volunteered at the Hoover Library over the summer and regularly reads books to his older family members. But, as his mother says, he has “a theory about serving others” and wants to keep his volunteer work to himself.
“I love doing community service, and I love volunteering, but I feel like everybody needs to do community service, but I don’t need a reward,” Daniel said. “Community service is kind of just for myself to be happy. I feel better about myself.”
In addition to volunteering, Daniel plays flute in the Bumpus band, sings in the choir and is a member of the robotics team. He also travels each week with a friend to Briarwood Church to take an intensive course in American Sign Language (ASL).
Though his hair is now well below his shoulders, Daniel doesn’t tell most people why he’s growing it out. Some people do double-takes and ask when he’s going to cut it, and a few have tried to tell him that long hair is for girls. None of it fazes him.
“He’s really confident for a boy his age to do his own thing,” Sas said. “You’ve got to stand strong if you’re going to make it through this long hair situation.”
Those few comments aside, however, Daniel said most people are supportive of his lengthy locks even if they don’t know the reason behind them. He and his mother agree that the challenge isn’t other people’s opinions – it’s trying to take care of a huge amount of hair.
“It takes a lot of work,” Daniel said of his daily routine, especially in the hot summer months.
Daniel is trying to grow his hair at least 10 inches, which is in the middle of the length range that most hair donation companies accept. However long it grows, he has both parents’ support.
When asked about his son’s decision, Daniel’s father Marco turns to reveal his own hair, which falls to the middle of his back.
“I suppose it’s no shock to us,” Sas laughed.
Marco is originally from Chile, where he said it’s common for men to have long hair. Daniel’s hair is actually shorter than both his parents’.
“We have a cultural background of men having long hair,” Sas said. “We’re 100 percent behind it.”
Daniel still has a couple months left to grow out his hair. Once he cuts it all off, though, Daniel said he plans to grow it right back out again.
“I love having long hair,” Daniel said.