Tony Gets A Haircut With A Purpose

Written by on July 29, 2021

Tony with his full “Covid Flow” at Country Boom

Christmas 2019 was not an easy one. My sister-in-law Lori had been battling cancer for a few years and it was finally catching up with her. Lisa left for Seattle the day after Christmas to help her sister get through her latest brain surgery and recovery. Christmas was a blur, and the surgery wasn’t a planned one and Lisa had to leave at the last minute. Lori was supposed to have this surgery and then go into recovery, and then go back home. It felt almost routine. There were some side effects from the surgery, however. Lori lost her ability to move her mouth to speak, although she could write and comprehend normally. That was a blessing so the family could all still talk to her. My kids and I flew out to join Lisa and to see their aunt. After a few weeks of being in Seattle and things looking up as much as they could we all flew back to Minnesota. We were home for maybe two days before Lisa got the call to head back to Seattle. Lori’s cancer had gone back on the attack and was finally becoming too much to fight anymore. Her once beautiful writing had become flawed and in some instances difficult to read. She passed away later that week. While I have known people with cancer this was the first family member that I saw with it. I learned more about cancer and what it can do and act then I ever thought I would.

As we drove back from Seattle the stories about Covid started to become more and more relevant and concerning. By the time March rolled around everything was getting shut down including barbershops and hair salons. One thing that bothered me is that there were actual people on social media complaining about not being able to go get their hair cut, or treated by their stylist that “is the only one who does it how I like”. Really? People are dying from a highly contagious disease and you’re worried about your hair color? Really?! It was, to me near the heights of human selfishness. You couldn’t go anywhere anyways so who really cared what your hair looked like? My sister-in-law was concerned with losing her hair due to chemo so she had a wig made out of her own hair to feel a sense of normalcy. She never complained about it realizing this was the way things were, and she had to deal with it. So it hit me the wrong way when people – who couldn’t go out publicly were worried about their outside appearance. I made a decision that I would grow my hair out long. All of it. I had just had my haircut in February for her memorial service and I vowed I wouldn’t get it cut until we were back to normal. Not one trim. I stuck by that and updated folks on occasion with a mirror picture of it’s length and even gave it a name: Covid Flow. I encouraged others to do something similar to spread a little laughter and distraction from everything else going on.

I was blessed with full hair that made some people jokingly jealous of how much I had. My family and friends and coworkers gave me the expected ribbing over it and I got the occasional “Get a haircut ya hippie” from folks that know me well. It was all in good fun! But as the months stretched on I came to the realization that I could do more than just have this be a radio bit or personal goal. I decided that I would grow my hair long enough to donate it somewhere and maybe spread a little joy and dignity to someone who could really use it. I really wanted it to be a kid since they are under the most pressure to feel normal on a daily basis. I was lucky enough to talk with someone who told me that Salon Bliss in Onalaska could handle everything for me from cut to donation. Thanks to Breinn for doing the deed of cutting my hair! She was super nice and did a great job! I ended up donating to Children With Hair Loss which I like because they don’t charge for their customers to get their hair. So I tried my best to take a bad situation and try to make it have a positive outcome no matter how small it may be. After this last year plus, I hope that a small gesture can put a big smile on someone’s face!

Tony with Salon Bliss stylist Brienn

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