Sept. 10, was a heroic day for 10-year-old Thomas Moore when he decided to chop off two-year’s worth of hair growth so that it could be donated to pediatric cancer patients. He did so as part of a program run by Big Hearts and Bundles.

thomasmarla-joneskyssbighair

Thomas Moore, who donated his hair, and Marla Jones, mother of Kyssi Jones, who died of cancer. (Photo by Charise Wallace)

The owner of Reniece & Co., hair stylist Reniece Goodwine, is the mastermind behind cutting Moore’s hair all off, and the woman who produced and hosted Big Hearts and Bundles: Celebrating The Beauty of Giving, a charity event that occurred on Dec. 3 at The Woman’s Club of Bethesda.

Goodwine runs an upscale salon in Rockville, Md. She specializes in creating natural-lookin weaves and for years preserved hair, so she was thrilled when Moore and his mother, Angie Pulos, reached out to her about his plan.

“I was so excited,” said Goodwine. “For me, that was the first time that I cut a whole head for a hair donation on a male…a young Black boy at that,” Goodwine told the AFRO.

“I have a collection of hair that I’ve had for many years, just from people that have given me hair, or people that just decided that they want a short cut so that it can be forever preserved.”

This event occurred all because of Moore’s courageous act to help make a young girl named Kyssi Andrews from Houston, Texas, who in 2014 lost her hair due to chemotherapy. She was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer. “I was thinking that no girl should deserve to have like no hair, they deserve to have long and beautiful hair,” said Moore. “That’s when I decided to cut my hair.”

Kyssi died suddenly in June 2015 at the age of 6, one year before Moore was able to form a wig out of his hair and donate it to her. But despite the disappointing news, he pushed through to finish accomplishing his goal for her and for other pediatric patients in need.

“When I was getting my hair braided, I would think like ‘I’m doing this for somebody and I can’t give up with what I’m doing. I’ve grown it so long…I can’t just give up,’” said Moore.

At Big Hearts and Bundles, Goodwine wanted to reveal Moore’s hair in a unique way to demonstrate what his hair would look like on pediatric patients, so she temporarily embedded his hair on head of a doll. She explained how his hair was able to be transformed into one full wig and eventually will donate that to a child dealing with pediatric cancer soon.

Even though the event surrounded around Moore’s incredible homage, Goodwine made it about the idea of giving, and most importantly families who dealt with childhood cancer.

Goodwine invited Kyssi’s mom, Marla Jones, to the event and honored her family and the Kyssi Andrews Foundation For Pediatric Cancer. She also honored the family of the late Miyah Telemaque-Nelson from Washington, D.C.,  died in Dec. 2014 at the age of 6 from Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Lastly, Allandra Brooks, a client of Goodwine’s who is still battling with breast cancer was recognized.

“I’m even more grateful to be in your presence Thomas,” said Jones, when speaking of flying out to the event.

Goodwine did a special act of self-love for Brooks before cutting all her hair off due to chemotherapy. She shaved her head completely bald to make her client feel comfortable to begin her new chapter of her life. A video clip was shown of it all, as it was Goodwine’s personal reveal to the audience in the room, her employees, and family who had no idea that she had done such a fearless act.

“It helped her to feel much better that day and that means a lot to me,” said Goodwine.

Goodwine has launched her own organization called Rare Harvest, to connect with people who want to donate their hair for a positive cause and so people of color can have a “different mindset” when it comes to dealing with textured hair. “For me, it’s like a no-brainer for me to keep hair intact and use it,” she said. “That’s why I feel like it was something that I was called to do and compelled to do. People have already started sending in their hair donations so it’s exciting.”

After all of Moore’s hard work was paid off, Reniece and Co. rewarded him with free hair cuts for the next two years.

For more information go to bigheartsandbundles.org.