Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eye Black Challengers - Brenda and Kasey

So far, these two lovely ladies are the most brave of the "eye black challengers". Kasey and Amber shaved their heads and donated their hair to Locks of Love, a group who supplies wigs, etc. to children who have lost their hair for any reason, in honor of their friend Amber who is currently battling cancer. It's one thing to donate money, it's another to give up time, but to shave your head, as a girl or guy, we salute you for your
fearlessness and love.

Brenda and I have been best friends for over 10 years. We met Amber about 2 years ago when she and Bren were working together. She is one of the most amazing people I've ever had the privilege of meeting. She told us about how she'd been battling cancer for 10 years and how she hoped it was finally behind her. Amber spent most of her twenties in and out of hospitals for chemo. At a time when it was supposed to be the prime of her life, she was battling to survive.

She has an 8-year-old son named Noah, who she raised with the help of her family. Then about 3 weeks ago she went in for a routine check up and the doctors told her the cancer had come back. Now, when she thought it was all over, she has to do it again. She's not really worried about herself; she's mainly focused on the well being of her son.

Right now I'm going to school in North Carolina and when I heard the news about her cancer coming back I felt light years away from home. My school recently had a fall break and the week before I came home Brenda asked me to shave my head with her, not only to donate to Locks of Love, but to show Amber you can still be Bald and Beautiful! I was all for it and thought it was a great idea.

Brenda researched all about Locks of Love and what we needed to do in order to donate our hair. So on the way to visit Amber in the hospital in Gainesville, we stopped by my mom's house to see if she would help us cut our hair. My parents were very supportive of the entire plan, and my mom was happy to help. Then with our heads shaved and about a three-pound bag of hair in tow, we headed to the hospital.

When we got there Amber was in the computer room trying to check her e-mail. She had had a bone marrow biopsy earlier that day and was pretty doped up on morphine. It’s a struggle for her to stand because her legs are so swollen due to the steroids. When she saw our missing hair, she was in tears. It took all we had not to start crying with her. She just went on and on about how we didn’t have to cut our beautiful hair off and how great of friends we were and how she’ll never forget what we did for her.

After a few minutes she gained her composure and we walked around for a little while to try and help relieve some of the swelling. As we were going to leave, her nurse had come in to give her some medicine. She told her nurse to look at us and said “look what they did for me, they cut off all their beautiful, thick, amazing hair.” The nurse looked at us, and was speechless for a moment, and then through suppressed tears said, “well that was very nice of them.”

For Brenda and me, there wasn’t a doubt in our mind about what we were going to do. Hair grows back, but the fact we put a smile on Amber’s face will be ingrained in our memory forever.

UPDATE: Amber succumbed to her illness and passed away on November 6, 2009. Please consider making a donation in her honor.

If you are as brave, as these two women and are willing to donate your hair, or are willing to make a financial donation, please click here. Regardless, please pray for Amber's speedy recovery and for her son.

And here are two examples of what your donations give:

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