When an Arizona mother’s hair fell out while undergoing radiation therapy for a brain tumor, her son grew it out and had it turned into a $2,000 wig.
Melanie Shaha, a mother of six, told Today’s Elise Solé that physicians detected her pituitary brain tumor in 2003.
The pituitary gland, according to The National Cancer Institute, is a small organ located to the base of the brain that produces hormones that control “many” of the body’s processes such as growth and fertility. According to the American Cancer Society, around 10,000 pituitary tumors are detected each year in the United States.
Melanie had surgery to remove the tumor, which had grown to the size of a plum, according to “Today,” but it returned in 2006, necessitating a second procedure. When the tumor returned for the third time in 2017, she was given radiation treatment.
According to the National Cancer Institute, radiation therapy may induce hair loss on the body region being treated. According to the institute, hair normally regrows in 3 to 6 months, but receiving a high dose of radiation may cause hair to regrow thinner or not at all.
“Without hair, you stand out like a sore thumb, and well-meaning people can say things that shatter your heart,” she explained to “Today.” “I don’t mind being sick as long as I don’t seem sick. At the supermarket, I’d rather blend in than stand out.”
According to “Today,” Melanie’s 27-year-old son Matt made a joke over a family lunch in 2018 that triggered an idea.
“I suggested that I grow out my hair to construct a wig for you.” Matt informed the source that he was growing out his hair at the time since the university he attended had severe requirements about hair length.
Melanie first refused her son’s offer, but he persisted and had grown 12 inches of hair by late March of this year, according to “Today.” Matt grew his hair for two and a half years, according to KSAZ, a local news station in Phoenix, Arizona.
Matt chopped off his long locks with the help of his coworkers in March of this year, according to “Today.”
“We were overjoyed, and when they started chopping, we bawled,” Melanie explained to “Today.”
The hair was then delivered to Compassionate Creations in Newport Beach, California, where it was hand-stitched into a wig, according to “Today.” According to KSAZ, the wig cost $2,000.
“The color is wonderful, and we got it cut and done by a hairdresser,” Melanie explained to “Today,” adding, “Matt said it looks great on me.”
Matt told KSAZ, “It’s a no-brainer.” “She was the one who gave me the hair in the first place.”
The Shahas did not react promptly to Insider’s request for comment.