Karsen Myers, a nine-year-old boy, has had one goal for the past two years; grow out his hair to raise $20,000 for a children’s cancer charity, Balding for Dollars.
Tara Blackwell, Karsen’s mom, said her son’s fundraising project was a perfect fit for him – showcasing his determined and lively spirit.
“He always dug the long hair vibe, and it was just above his ears when I read him this story of a local boy doing something similar,” Blackwell explained. “He lit up and said ‘I can do that,’ and I said ‘yeah you can’.”
With flowing blonde locks that have only had a couple of occasional trims to rid Karsen of split ends, his hair currently falls all down his back.
As of Dec. 16, Karsen had raised $8,625.82 – nearly half way to his goal.
Persistent bullying, however, has made it difficult for the Calyton Heights resident to grow it out until the end of the campaign.
”The bullying started this year,” Blackwell told the Langley Advance Times. “People would ask him in public, ‘are you a girl or a boy’ and he had not problems telling people. But most of what would happen took place the skate park.”
Despite his dampened spirits, Karsen would absolutely have kept going; but as parents, Blackwell and her partner decided it was for Karsen’s best interest and well being to cut it early.
“He really hated when they called him Kaitlin instead of Karsen. He’d come home crying, saying ‘they were just awful to me today,” she continued.
Karsen will get it chopped off by a family friend on Saturday, Dec. 21 – opting, now, for a completely different look; a buzz cut.
His fundraising page will still be live until May when the Balding for Dollars wrap up event will take place.
“He’ll still be involved in the event. All of the kids involved will get together at the end of the campaign and get up on stage and even meet some of the people they are helping,” Blackwell explained.
Balding for Dollars is a partnership program with BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, which aims to raise funds for oncology, hematology, and bone marrow transplant patients while also collecting hair donations.
As for the bullying Karsen endured, Blackwell didn’t want to name the school, but said she will be meeting with staff to discuss what can be done in the future.
“I’ll be talking with school about connection and bullying,” she explained. “The support staff and the principal are amazing and I just want to make certain the future is positive, not only for Karsen, but everyone.”
An out-pouring of support from friends on social media and other media outlets have given her hope that the message is getting through.
“I’ve just been learning so much – to be mindful of what we say. People have been so positive and supportive in a way I didn’t think was possible in this and age,” Blackwell said.
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