A mother in Arizona lost her hair during radiation treatment for a brain tumor, so her son grew his hair out and made it into a $2,000 wig.
Melanie Shaha, 61, told “Today” that doctors discovered a benign brain tumor in her pituitary gland in 2003.
The National Cancer Institute explains that the pituitary gland produces hormones that control the body’s functions, like growth and fertility. The American Cancer Society estimates that around 10,000 pituitary tumors are diagnosed annually in the United States.
Melanie underwent surgery to remove the tumor, which grew to be the size of a plum, but it returned in 2006. She underwent radiation treatment when the cancer returned for the third time in 2017.
The National Cancer Institute warns that radiation therapy can lead to hair loss. Typically, hair grows back in three to six months, but receiving a high dose of radiation may result in hair growing thinner or not at all.
She told “Today,” “It’s hard to blend in when you don’t have hair, and well-meaning people can say hurtful things.”
“Today” reports that Melanie’s son Matt, 28, made a joke in the family lunchroom in 2018 that inspired an idea. He told the outlet, “Why don’t I grow out my hair to make you a wig?” Matt said at the time, citing university regulations regarding hair length.
By March 2022, Melanie’s son had grown 12 inches of hair after persuading her to take him up on his offer. Several of Matt’s coworkers helped him cut his long locks that month, according to “Today.” According to KSAZ, a local Phoenix news station, Matt grew his hair for 2.5 years.
Matt said, “I’m going to spend Mother’s Day with my mom.” After lunch, we’ll run errands, chat, and maybe even get some ice cream, and then my mom can put her feet up at the end of the day and think about the family she raised.”