Middle School Baller Scores Big With Hair Donations

by | May 2024

LIKE A middle school basketball game, each day unfolds like a steady race toward the season championship. Bells signal class changes, not scoreboard buzzers, and cafeteria lunches offer healthier selections than concession stands. Anxiety and bliss coexist. It’s test-taking, not free throws, and it’s a race to complete assignments, not a race to the basket for a game-winning shot. And amidst the day-to-day hustle at Fayetteville Middle School, Isabella “Izzy” Grace Hyde quietly proves that the smallest acts of kindness can make the biggest difference.

Izzy co-hosts her school’s morning show sports segment in addition to participating in other extracurricular activities. Her story could easily be a special report on the Fayetteville Middle School Morning Show. She’s a kind and generous 11-year-old student making a difference inside and outside the school’s walls.

First grade is all about cartwheels, sidewalk chalk masterpieces, and pink backpacks for little girls. Izzy and her friend, Elli, were like most other 6-year-olds. Recess was slide whooshes, whispered secrets, and friendship bracelets. But their carefree world took an unexpected turn when Elli received a diagnosis they were too young to understand.

“I was scared, not only for my friend but for any child who has to suffer from cancer, with them not knowing what the next day may bring. I felt hopeless, knowing there was nothing I could do to help,” Izzy shared.

But Izzy’s fear didn’t paralyze her; it caused her to look for a way to help her friend. “I realized treatments are very hard on cancer patients, causing them to lose their hair, so my mom and I talked about what we could do to help. Then I found out about Children with Hair Loss, where I could donate my hair to children in need,” said Izzy. “Being a girl and losing your hair is a huge thing. It’s part of who you are, so being able to grow my own hair and give it to someone in need is something so simple that anyone can do.”

Children with Hair Loss (CWHL) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing human hair replacements to children and young adults facing medically-related hair loss at no cost. Regina Villemure founded the program after seeing children undergoing chemotherapy wearing adult-sized synthetic wigs. According to childrenwithhairloss.org, CWHL provides customized human hair replacements and care kits to over 600 children a year.

Izzy didn’t make just one donation of her hair to CWHL; she’s grown her hair out and donated it four times to date. Since each donation requires a minimum of 8 inches of hair, she’s contributed a little over 2 ½ feet, improving self-esteem and encouraging children who would otherwise be discouraged by their reflections.

The treatments were successful for Izzy’s young friend. Izzy said, “When I found out she was cancer-free, it was such a great feeling. She has overcome so many obstacles in life, and she’s a true inspiration.”

Although she will likely disagree, Izzy, too, is a true inspiration. She pours her time and energy into school work, band, basketball, softball, Beta Club, and work on her school’s morning show. Her calendar is overflowing like a locker at the end of the school year. But her involvement doesn’t distract her or leave her unaware of the needs of those around her; it inspires her.

She’s further inspired by Rennia Davis, a former University of Tennessee and Women’s National Basketball Association player, to do her best on and off the court. “I know I can do my best in basketball, and I know I can do my best in everything else, too,” she said confidently. Despite her youth, Izzy knows her best isn’t a destination; it’s a journey.

When asked what she would want for herself if she had a magic wand, she replied, “To be a better person. No one is perfect.”

She recognizes that donations of hair to CWHL are a small way to make a big difference in the lives of other children, and it’s easy. The minimum donation is 8 inches, but longer hair is greatly needed and appreciated by the organization. Visit childrenwithhairloss.org for specific directions on registering and donating your hair.

“I’d like to encourage others to donate their hair to Children With Hair Loss,” she said.

Successfully inspiring others to cover the hearts and heads of children and young adults dealing with hair loss is like hitting that game-winning shot over and over. It’s a big win for the team of humanity. And while people of any age can donate, donations by other children and young adults prove the motto of Izzy and Fayetteville Middle School: “Big enough to make a difference, small enough to care.”

So how about it? The smallest acts of kindness really can make the biggest difference. GN

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