When the thing you’re best known for is having great big hair, chopping it off might be considered the ultimate sacrifice, but one generous young man recently turned lopping off his legendary locks into an opportunity to better the lives of others.
Kieran Moïse’s impressive Afro, which he’d been growing and nurturing since childhood, surrounded his head like a halo. At 17, he was set to enroll at the United States Air Force Academy—and that of course, would mean a haircut.
Rather than lament the loss, Kieran decided to turn the rite of passage into a charity event benefitting two causes to which he feels a deep connection: St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Michigan-based Children With Hair Loss, a nonprofit that provides human hair wigs free of charge to kids and young adults suffering from medically related hair loss.
“I have been growing my hair out for many years with the goal of donating it to charity. Now that it is time to shave it, I would like to raise $1,000 per inch for St. Jude’s Hospital,” he explained on his fundraising page, which launched on May 29.
“My hair is 19 inches long and that $19,000 will do so much good to help families dealing with cancer. One of my good friends in middle school died from cancer and I know St. Jude’s really helped his family. This is just one way that I feel like I can give back. It will also help make some really good wigs for kids! Please donate and help me reach my goal!”
Kieran’s parents Patrick and Kelly Moïse have chronicled the growth their son’s amazing ’do over the course of his life and understand just how much cutting it off meant to him.
“My son has always had a huge heart. He was determined that if he was going to have to get a haircut anyway, then he should pay it forward in a way that would help as many people as possible,” Kelly told the Washington Post.
During an event held at a local Huntsville, Alabama, brewery Kieran submitted to being shorn in front of a crowd of nearly 100 enthusiastic supporters. His lengthy tresses were forwarded to the Michigan charity and to date, he’s raised more than $39,000 in support of cancer research at St. Jude.
It’s an impressive sum to be sure, but more than anything, Kieran hopes his “shaving grace” will encourage others to find ways to offer help and hope to those in need.
“[Kieran] wants people to know that if he can donate his hair, then anyone can,” Kelly told WaPo. “He’s hoping that everyone will be encouraged to go out there and commit their own small act of kindness.”
How’s that for shear inspiration?