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Young Daughters Shave Heads To Support Their Mother Battling Breast Cancer

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For many young girls, hair is incredibly important. There are many mishaps that can happen involving curiosity and scissors, but by a certain age young ladies are usually more invested in taking care of their tresses.

That makes Kayla and Sophia McPherson’s choice to shave their heads that much more impressive. The girls, aged 10 and 7, respectively, made sure to run their idea past dad first, who wisely cautioned them to get their mom’s approval before doing something so drastic.

But their motivation wasn’t merely curiosity. Their insistence on going bald was not a temporary mindset. Their plan was based on something simple and wonderful: love for their mother, Joanna McPherson.

Joanna, mom of four and an Air Force colonel, was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer, according to a post she wrote on the blog “HER2 Positive Life.” Her daughters knew she might lose her hair, and wanted to shave their heads, too, if it came to that.

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“The outside doesn’t matter, it’s what’s on the inside that counts but you still get judged, so if my mom were to get judged by her being bald I don’t want her to be the only one,” Kayla said, according to KSLA.

“Well they had been planning it for a couple weeks before they actually came to me and told me that they wanted to shave their heads and that their father had already approved,” Joanna said during an interview with “I was shocked, a little surprised.”

“I thought, ‘Well, they probably don’t really know what they’re asking and after a few days it will kind of blow over and they won’t really want to follow through with it.'”

“It’s very difficult to see a loved one go through pain and just a lot of body changes that they can’t control,” she added. “This was one way they could not only share that with me, but maybe manage some of what they were experiencing themselves.”

“It was really just a gesture of love,” the mom continued, “and even though they’re young and it seems like a big decision for a young kid to make, it was out of love.”

After getting mom’s go-ahead, Shawn, their dad, sat them down and gave them a shave. The resulting video has been making the rounds on social media as a selfless act of love and solidarity — an act that has elicited even more well-wishing and encouragement for Joanna.

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“Thanks to my friends, family, friends of friends and everyone who has shown support for me and my family,” Joanna posted on her Facebook on Feb. 3. “The prayers are working and I am encouraged by the messages, ❤s, ?s and people who have reached out. I know so many have gone through this before me and survived and I plan on doing the same.”

“On bad days I pray, revisit comments, e-mails, cards and texts to lift my spirits. Shawn and I were surprised how our girl’s gesture has caused a ripple effect of love and compassion and in turn, taught them how valuable a positive community can be when you are going through difficult times. Words can’t express the fullness I feel in my heart when I think of all the love that has come my way and all the kindhearted people I’m “surrounded” by. ?”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking