Brothers endured years of bullying because of their long hair

Brothers, aged 9 and 11, reveal they grew their hair for five YEARS despite being teased at school because they wanted their locks to be made into wigs for children who’ve lost their hair

  • Kaleb, 11, and Aaron Tekabework, nine, spent almost five years growing their hair
  • Brothers from Pennsylvania, were teased and often mistakened for girls
  • They’ve raised $3,415 for a charity that supports children who have cancer 

Two brothers have revealed how they spent five years growing their hair in order to donate their long locks to a charity that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair.

Kaleb Tekabework, 11, and his nine-year-old brother Aaron, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were inspired to stop cutting their hair after watching a documentary in April 2016 about a young cancer patient who received a wig of hair from another girl. 

Then just seven and five, the brothers decided to grow their own curly locks until they were long enough to do the same, despite being teased at school over their appearance.  

Their 19in tresses were cut off earlier this month and sent to charity Wigs for Kids, which provides wigs and hair replacement options to children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues. 

Kaleb Tekabework, 11, and his nine-year-old brother Aaron, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were inspired to stop cutting their hair after watching a documentary in April 2016 about a young cancer patient who received a wig of hair from another girl 

After almost five years of growth, the brothers’ 19in tresses were cut off earlier this month

The hair was sent to charity Wigs for Kids, which provides wigs and hair replacement options to children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues. Pictured, Aaron with his hair

The brothers, pictured after the haircut, said they wanted to try regrowing their hair again 

The boys also raised $3,415 for children’s cancer research at Addis Ababa University College of Health Sciences. 

Kaleb said: ‘Growing our hair for four-and-a-half years was stressful because we would always just get our hair tangled swimming and then have to stand for hours to untangle it.

‘And we’ve been through a lot of bullying and teasing at school, but it also gave us a reason to explain why we were growing our hair.

‘I just kept reminding myself of why I’m growing my hair. I’ve just kept going because no matter what I wanted to accomplish and reach my goal.’

Mother Senafikish, who is a nurse, recalled the moment her sons began growing their hair, saying: ‘They were so inspired that they asked me if they can also grow and donate their hair to that little kid they saw in the movie.

‘When I told them it was possible they immediately decided to do that. Ever since then their hair hasn’t been cut and is taken care of every day.’

Mother Senafikish, who is a nurse, recalled the moment her sons began growing their hair and said she was proud of their determination. Pictured, the family together 

Kaleb revealed growing their hair was stressful because it would get tangled and they went through a lot of bullying. Pictured: Aaron and Kaleb before their haircuts 

Senafikish said her sons immediately began growing their hair, after she told them it was possible to do what had been done in the documentary. Pictured: Kaleb before his hair cut 

The boys grew their locks until it was 19 inches long, putting up with bullies and extended showers, and drying time, for nearly half their lives. 

Senafikish said: ‘I’d have to groom it every day for school and wash it every week, and when it gets longer and longer it gets harder to brush.’

Aaron and Kaleb went to the barbers for the first time in their lives on World Cancer Day on February 4 to have their hair ceremonially chopped and donated.

Aaron said: ‘We pretty much just got a haircut, but it was our first time in a barber shop so we were a bit nervous, at the end it was pretty fun though.

‘We took a picture with our hair saying goodbye I’ll miss you!’

Wigs For Kids lets them track the hair and where it ends up.

Aaron added: ‘I want to meet them because the only thing I’ve been thinking about for the past four-and-a-half years was meeting the person and seeing them smile!’

Kaleb (pictured) and Aaron grew their hair until it was 19 inches long. Pictured, at the barber’s shop

Aaron holds onto his and his brother’s hair after the dramatic haircut earlier this month 

The brothers who plan to grow their hair long again for more wigs, are going to have a break to try out some new styles first.

Kaleb said: ‘I’m probably going to wait one or two years so I can try different types of hairstyles, because the only types I’ve had so far are ponytails!’

‘We look like boys now!’ added Aaron. 

Senafikish is very proud of her sons determination.

She added: ‘We were inspired by our sons. Their willingness to give part of their body to someone who is in desperate need of it was such a meaningful act of charity and selflessness.

‘What has always amazed us is that despite many people including their peers at school commented about their hair and mistakenly referred to them as ‘girls’, they don’t talk about it unless specifically asked why they are growing their hair.

‘They know why they are doing this and they are determined to go through the pain of grooming hair daily and the bullying by their peers.

‘This for us was the very essence of giving selflessly and from the heart with the only motive being doing something kind for someone else and see them smile.’

You can donate to Kaleb and Aaron’s fundraiser here.

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