Mom learns on birthday why her son grew out his locks
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURNâ€”The usual banter between mothers and sons about long hair took a sudden twist for Candy Miller and her son, Tommy McCartney, during Millerâ€™s 50th birthday party in September.
McCartney, 23, whose hair was roughly six inches longer than it ever had been before, came clean that day: He announced that he was donating his eight-inch locks to Panteen Pro-V for wigs for cancer patients.
His gift not only was to cancer patients in need of quality wigs, but also was a present to his own mom, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February.
â€œIt was a total surprise for me,â€ Miller said. â€œHis hair was really getting long. Iâ€™d tell him, â€˜You really need to get it cut. Iâ€™ll even pay for it,â€™ but heâ€™d say, â€˜I like it and Iâ€™m not getting it cut. Iâ€™m never cutting it again.â€™â€
McCartney had something more up his sleeve. He was inspired several months ago while riding in the car with his mom about three weeks after she started chemotherapy.
â€œI could tell that she was upset. I kept asking her what was wrong, but she wouldnâ€™t say,â€ McCartney said. â€œThen she ran her fingers through her hair, and it was just falling out. It went through my mind that I could donate my hair for a wig for her, but I knew it was not long enough yet.â€
His hair at that time was two to three inches long. The minimum requirement for donation is eight inches.
While growing out his locks, he didnâ€™t tell anyone the reason except, eventually, his girlfriend, who liked the long hair at first but as the months passed, agreed with his mother. During those months, McCartney took a lot of teasing at every family party. He wanted to cut his hair at the beginning of September but the back wasnâ€™t long enough yet.
In a wonder of timing, McCartneyâ€™s hair was long enough just in time for Millerâ€™s big 50th birthday party at the end of the month. Not one to take the spotlight, McCartney waited for the 60-some party-goers to thin out to just close family and friends before making his move. With a cousin and a beautician relative, clippers in hand, McCartney pulled his mom aside.
â€œHe said to me, â€˜Mom, Iâ€™ve got another present for you. I want you to shave my head,â€™â€ Miller said.
Miller said her sonâ€™s gift made her very emotional and that his support meant a lot to her.
â€œI have always told him that he has the best heart,â€ Miller said.
McCartney realized his announcement was spur-of-the-moment, but he knew what it would mean to his mom.
â€œIt felt good to see her happy,â€ he said. â€œIt was nice to see her cry and be happy and not sad.â€
Top Photo: Tommy McCartney and his mother, Candy Miller, smile after McCartney donated 8 inches of hair to Panteen Pro-V for cancer patient wigs. Miller was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February. Courtesy Photo