When one mom lost her hair battling a brain tumor, her son was determined to make her feel like herself again.

In 2003, Melanie Shaha of Gilbert, Arizona started having dull headaches which doctors later found were caused by a benign brain tumor of the pituitary gland.

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man with long blond hair in a bun wearing an off-white hoodie
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

She had surgery to remove the tumor but it returned, and required a second surgery in 2006, followed by a third reoccurrence in 2017 for which radiation was prescribed.

“I asked (my doctor), ‘Will I lose my hair?’ and they said ‘No,'” Melanie told TODAY. “Three months later, I had a big shed and started losing hair.”

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“Not having hair, you stick out like a sore thumb and well-meaning people can say things that break your heart. I don’t mind being sick but I mind looking sick. I’d rather blend in and not stand out at the store,” Melanie told TODAY.

One day, Melanie’s 27-year-old son Matt had an idea. “I said, ‘Why don’t I grow out my hair to make a wig for you?” he told TODAY.

Melanie didn’t want to burden her son. “I would tell him, ‘I love your hair’ and he’d say, ‘Coming soon to a head near you!'” she said.

Matt grew his hair for two years and when the hair length reached 12 inches, he and a few of his coworkers went to his mom’s home where they chopped it all off.

“We were super pumped and when they started cutting, we bawled,” said Melanie.

Matt’s hair was sent to Compassionate Creations which delivered a hand-tied wig to Melanie.

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“When someone selflessly shaves their head for a family member, it makes what we do even more special,” Compassionate Creations co-founder Veronica Balch told TODAY.

Melanie says she loves her wig. “The color is spectacular and we had it cut and styled with a hairdresser,” she said.

She admits Matt’s gift will be hard to top: “It sure fills your emotional cup.”


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“It’s when you’re acting selflessly that you are at your bravest.” – Veronica Roth