Thursday, October 29, 2015

An Unlikely Act of Love

If we've learned anything in the last short month, it's that signs of love come in many forms and from many places.  Cards, casseroles, hugs and phone calls have provided support and strength in these dark days, but the one of the greatest demonstrations of love and friendship came last week simply in the form of a haircut.

Chemo patients don't generally get a choice.  When chemo invades your body, in addition to killing the 'bad cells,' they generally take some victims along with them.  One of those victims is your hair. When Dr. Mitchell spoke to MacKale about all the side effects and what he would experience with chemo, she made it clear that his hair would fall out.  There wasn't really any question about it. It would take two to three weeks after chemo started, but it would start to go.  MacKale never seemed really upset about it.  He'd met plenty of cancer kids at The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp when he was a camper there, and he knew that it was kind of part of the deal. But he never complained.  He kind of just took it in quite resolve like he has taken most things in life that he had been dealt . . . hemophilia . . . now this.  It was MacKale that explained to MaGill and McCoy that he had cancer and would get chemo and that chemo would make his hair fall out.  His ability to stay calm and matter of fact made telling them so much easier.   That doesn't mean that down deep, it was something he was happy about . . . it doesn't mean that deep down he didn't worry about how his peers would react . . . or if he would be self-conscious . . . or not look like himself . . . during those quite moments, when he was very much withdrawn, I'm sure those were some of his thoughts and fears.

Mike had told him from the beginning that he when the time came, he would shave his head with MacKale.  If MacKale was going to lose his hair, then by gosh, Mike wasn't going to let him go through it alone.  Then MaGill said he wanted to  . . . and our priest . . . and our friend Matt Bell . . . and things kind of started to snowball.  Where my comfort level would have been to privately go and have MacKale's head shaved quietly with no one around  . . . make it as uneventful as possible . . . not to draw any attention to the fact that he's losing his hair, that wasn't Mike's style and quite honestly, it wasn't MacKale's either and it wasn't what MacKale needed.  Mike was determined that if this unpleasantness was going to happen, MacKale wasn't going to be alone and he wanted to make it as fun as possible.  Yes, hair was going to fall out and he was going to be bald . . .but by golly, they didn't have to have pity party about it!



Much like love, God sends us angels in the unlikeliest forms, too.   Our angel for this milestone in MacKale's cancer journey came in the form of our dear family friend Bill Cinco.  If you live in Cadillac, you know Bill.  He has owned Trend Designers for years, is an active member of this community and the sweetest man you'll ever meet.  MacKale and the boys have been getting their hair cut at his salon since they were teeny.  He made it very clear to us that when the time came, he would open his doors and be there for us . . . razor in hand.

Now we just needed to wait for nature to take it's course.  It didn't take long.  One night last week,  MacKale yelled for me to come into his room before bedtime.  He and Mike had pulled out a handful of hair. The next night he could barely sleep for little hairs falling into his eyes and nose while he sleep.  It was definitely time. And so plans were made.  We would meet at Trend Designers on Sunday and if anyone wanted to join us, we threw it out there . . .  never realizing it wouldn't be just the few of us.

You can't even imagine the whooping and hollering at our house when MacKale's soccer team scored the first point in this event.  Team-mate Ethan and his dad, one of our team's coaches, shaved their heads Saturday nigh,t because they couldn't make it Sunday!  They wanted MacKale to know they were behind him.  I cried then, and as I sit here and write this post, it still makes me cry.  It was such a wonderful surprise and an amazing gift.



And I quickly realized, what I thought was going to be just a couple of our friends coming together to support MacKale . . . became something a more . . . and more amazing.   Bill may have gotten a bit more than he bargained for though.  Thankfully, more angels came through for us . .  . Tara and Amanda, stylist from the salon that have been cutting the boys' hair forever,  took time away from their own families to come help, too.

My job was to try and get everyone's picture. I tried my best, but as MacKale said, it was chaotic  and a little crazy but so much fun.  So chaotic, in fact, that I'm realizing I may have missed a few cuts (~sorry~).  In case you missed the fun though, I thought you might like to check out some of the action and meet some of these amazing men--both big and small--who went out of their way to make this part of MacKale's journey a little less lonely.


First of all, you have to understand, no event would be the same without a blessing from our favorite priest, Father Joe Fix.  He's blessed 1000s of motor bikes, backpacks and billy goats, but this was his first time for the 'blessing of the bald.'  And just to set the record straight so there's no doublt, I don't care who you are, our priest is the BEST !  He was first in line to have his own head shaved . . .'just don't touch the beard!'

And the little man of the hour, MacKale, wanted a seat in one of the first chairs as well.



Little brother MaGill wasn't gonna let MacKale go through this on his own . . .


and neither was little brother McCoy.



But that's not all . . . Mr. Bell . . . stepped up to the plate!


and so did his good buddy Colin . . .

And because you can't quite see it and I love it so . . . Colin's shirt says . . . 'I have a Crappy attitude about Cancer!'  LOVE IT!!!

More of MacKale's buddies -- Tucker . . .


and Ian.


Soccer buddies . . . Micah . . .


. . .  and Brady . . .


and Brady's brother Joe even shaved his head . . . what?!!!  He had only come to watch, but decided to go ahead with it, too. (Love that kid!)


More friends and family . . . Uncle Matt


and, of course, the ring leader . . . daddy!


Even more friends . . . Jerry and Mr. Darringon!


and others I missed . . .  Mr. Vandervelde, Gabe and Mr. Tulluto and everyone that came to cheer us on.



In the end, bald never looked so beautiful.


But believe it or not, it didn't end there.  Over the last several days, I keep getting texts and emails from family and friends who missed the event, but wanted to show MacKale their support, too.  They were cutting hair from all over the place.

From Iowa, Uncle Moff sent this . . .



from Colorado, Cousin Chris . . .


Cousin Jim in Iowa joined the fun and sent this . . .


and closer to home friends are still jumping in.

Check out Connor . . .


 . . . Justin . . .


 . . . Jonas . . .

and Tristan!!!


I can't tell you what each and every single one of these bald headed beauties mean to me and what kind of smile they have brought to MacKale's face.  I'm so proud of each and everyone of these amazing men who are setting such a great examples of friendship and support and for the younger men and boys who were there and, to their mothers (and wives)  who allowed them to support their friend by shaving their heads.  .  . I have not words.  You have my heart.  You are angels to me.

And to Bill . . .



and Amanda . . .



and Tara . . .


thank you for your skill, your time, your kindness, your love and your willingness to put up with this crazy, amazing day.  We love you to the moon and back.





16 comments:

  1. That is AWESOME!! I'm in tears. MacKale is blessed to have such a wonderful support system of family and friends.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a wonderful event! How blessed he is to have so many wonderful supporters! I'm in tears reading this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Melissa. These men are amazing.
      Marsha

      Delete
  3. Such love and support! I'm in tears! All of these boys and men are beautiful inside and out!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't know anyone in this post, yet I'm in tears, too. This made my day. Praying for MacKale, and all of you! God bless you all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Carla. They are all great men and boys.
      Marsha

      Delete
  5. Not really unlikely after all, I guess. This is one of the few ways MacKale's friends are able to show their support. He is soooo loved and it looks like he really appreciates that. How wonderful that you were able to capture all those smiling faces with pics. I cried, too, even though I don't know anyone involved. I'm a follower of mom's teacher blog and now this one too. Sending prayers to all . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He certainly appreciates their support and love Terri. And we appreciate all your prayers.
      Marsha

      Delete
  6. Marsha, I've been following your story because I'm a volunteer with HFM, all the way down here in Ypsilanti. As a fellow bleeder, my heart is so full of concern for your family, conpassion, and hope for a full recovery... But reading your post just now, I realized that there's one more tie connecting my heart to your story- I'm a local girl. I grew up in Marion. My oldest boys had their first haircuts at Trend Designers, years ago, and their dad always had his hair cut there. The Cadillac area is home to me, and now I'm wishing I was back there to lend more support, one more friendly face in the crowd that I sincerely hope is surrounding you with all the best things the community there has to offer... if you do any more events for MacKale, please let me know, and I will gladly help spread the word. And in the meantime, if there's anything I can do to help, just say the word. Us local bleeder families gotta stick together. ;-)

    Blessings and prayers!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Rhonda! Yes, the Cadillac community has been such a huge supporter and has opened their arm and their hearts to pray for MacKale and our family. We are so blessed. Thanks for your kind offer. We certainly appreciate it.
      Marsha

      Delete
  7. Marsha, I've been following your story because I'm a volunteer with HFM, all the way down here in Ypsilanti. As a fellow bleeder, my heart is so full of concern for your family, conpassion, and hope for a full recovery... But reading your post just now, I realized that there's one more tie connecting my heart to your story- I'm a local girl. I grew up in Marion. My oldest boys had their first haircuts at Trend Designers, years ago, and their dad always had his hair cut there. The Cadillac area is home to me, and now I'm wishing I was back there to lend more support, one more friendly face in the crowd that I sincerely hope is surrounding you with all the best things the community there has to offer... if you do any more events for MacKale, please let me know, and I will gladly help spread the word. And in the meantime, if there's anything I can do to help, just say the word. Us local bleeder families gotta stick together. ;-)

    Blessings and prayers!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Rhonda. Yes, we are so fortunate to have the city of Cadillac as our home. This community has been amazing.
      Thanks for your kind offer and your prayers.
      Marsha

      Delete
  8. How did I miss this wonderful post?
    What a sweet, thoughtful, tremendous gesture from the men and boys in MacKale's life! Sending prayers as always and trying not to cry when I see how sweet the human spirit can be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are ever in doubt about the goodness in people, just sit next to me. I have many stories of selfless support and prayers that have been offered for MacKale and our family. It's amazing.
      Marsha

      Delete