Beliefnet
Inspiration Report

A mom and her six sons are inspiring others with their dedication and compassion for others.  Phoebe Kannisto could be considered a supermom.  She is the mother to six sons and one daughter.  Her sons, Andre who is 10, identical twins Silas and Emerson who are eight, and fraternal triplets Herbie, Reed, and Dexter who are five, have shown that bullies are no match to doing the right thing.  Just having seven kids is not what makes her a supermom; it is the lessons that she is teaching them.

The Cheektowaga, New York natives collectively grew out and donated over 17-feet of hair. Ranging from one to five years, some of the boys’ hair took longer than others to get it to the length needed for donating. Nonetheless, it was a family effort and they all waited to get it cut together.

Phoebe Kannisto had been growing and donating her hair since she was a teenager. She did not get the notion to do it with her sons until one of her friend’s sons had passed away due to cancer. “Three years ago a friend of mine lost her son to cancer and he was also a twin and very similar in age to my twins.  So on the first anniversary of his passing my three oldest sons donated their hair in his memory and that’s kind of how it started,” she said in an interview with ABC News. And, the rest is history.

Her husband, Eric Kannisto, works as a cancer research scientist prompting her even more to instill this want in her family to donate hair to children, specifically those battling with cancer. Having younger children involved, Kannisto understands that that idea can be somewhat dense or hard to grasp but she claims that the boys view in as positive manor as possible.  She ensures them that they are doing the right thing by helping children who are sick.  “It makes me feel a bit better about myself knowing that I can do something to make somebody else happy,” said one son in an interview with ABC News. The children’s outlook is centered on the idea of putting someone else in high spirits.

As if this story could not get anymore charitable, the hair salon that chopped the family’s hair, Hizair Hair Salon, refused to take any payment.  The inspired stylists claimed that since they were donating hair than they were going to donate their time. It was even said that some of the stylists were working overtime but still did not want any form of payment. The charity that the family donated to was the Children with Hair Loss foundation; it is a nonprofit organization that provides hair replacements for children who have medically- related hair loss.  The organization strives on donating hair replacements to children who are affected with absolutely no cost.  In 2016 alone Children with Hair Loss was able to help around 500 children.

Throughout the process of growing their hair some of the boys were said to be having a hard time at school.  They were faced with a few bullies that did not agree with their long hair.  Some had harder times than others.  Kannisto claimed that there were some hard nights that included a few tears because even after explaining the purpose of the long hair to the bullies, they remained to push limits. The boys, despite the bullies and their comments, completed their goal. Her sons prevailed, coming out of the process with “thicker skin” and good hearts.

In attendance to the hair cutting was Marah Taylor, the youngest daughter of the Kannisto family, who is only two-years-old. “She watched in awe, her brothers are great role models,” said Phoebe Kannisto in an interview with HuffPost.  The Kannisto family is already planning on donating again so that Marah Taylor can participate.  The brothers promised their sister that they would do it again just for her. The brothers are already getting excited about the next time they can donate.  They are throwing around bets and estimating how long they think it will take until their hair is at the right length to get cut.

The efforts of the Kannisto family are nothing short of admiring.  Phoebe, her sons and Marah Taylor, show a level of commitment and kindness that others strive for. Cancer is a hard pill to swallow and effects so many. “Cancer hits close to home for everybody, everybody knows someone who’s affected by cancer,” said Kannisto in an interview with ABC News. Something that is so looked over, such as hair, could mean so much in the eyes of someone else.  It’s reassuring that children who have not even reached their teen years yet have such an ability to care for others without expecting anything in return.  They just want to give.

 

You can donate or research more on Children with Hair Loss at: https://www.childrenwithhairloss.us/

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