Dropping past his shoulders, nine-year-old Noah Yates loved his long hair. Shave it off? Never.
That is, until family friend Lucas Savage, a 14-year-old Dunsmuir middle school student, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and leukemia.
On Friday, clippers rounded Noah’s head at David Cameron elementary in front of a chanting, wildly enthusiastic crowd of kids. For sacrificing his hair, the Grade 4 student single-handedly raised $1,965 to help the Savage family cope with expenses related to Lucas’ stay in B.C. Children’s Hospital.
“It’s overwhelming. The fact that a nine-year-old can go to that length of generosity, to have his hair cut in front of the school, to help us out is fantastic,” said Ed Savage, father of Luc.
“The community support is overwhelming for us. We couldn’t get through this without all of you,” Ed told the assembled kids, parents and teachers. He had the honour of balding Noah and did a clean job. “I’ve been telling Noah for two years he needed a haircut.”
“I like it,” Noah said afterwards. “It feels strange.”
Luc was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, on Nov. 26, 2010, and was flown from Victoria General Hospital to Vancouver that day. He is undergoing aggressive treatment involving six kinds of chemotherapy.
“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions. At first we didn’t know where to turn for help,” Ed said. “But as friends and family became aware, everyone has chipped in to help us out.”
Noah’s mom Marcie Yates admitted her son was reluctant to lose his hair at first, but soon saw the light. The Savage and Yates families are close and go camping together. Noah and Luc’s younger brother have been friends since kindergarten.
“(Noah) said he wanted the family to come home healthy,” Marcie said. “Noah said he wanted to do this.”
Through pledges, a campaign through Facebook and T-shirt sales, in less than two months Noah raised nearly $2,000. A student from Dunsmuir school is selling friendship bracelets to raise money for the family.
“In the last two months its the kids that have overwhelmed us the most,” Ed said. “Kids are looking out for kids.”
The Savage family is splitting their time between home in Colwood and Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver. Ed and his wife have stopped working and they have two other kids to care for.
“Anyone with a child in hospital goes through this. We’re basically living in two separate locations.” Ed said. “The donations are huge and will help pay the bills.”
To donate to the Lucas Savage and his family, Coast Capital Savings will accept donations to “Lucas Savage In Trust.”
Luc’s progress is being updated on Twitter @sevteamluc2011.