A child’s haircut inspired one local mother to make plans to shave her head in an effort to raise funds for children with cancer.

When Amy Close, of Green Ridge, took her son Michael, 7, and daughter Avery, 5, for haircuts at Walter’s Barber Shop recently, she didn’t know she would agree to shave her head on Nov. 1.

Barber Barry Walter said he became involved when he cut Michael’s hair.

“She said maybe I’ll just shave my head if you can raise $2,000,” he said. “I said ‘are you serious? I think we can make that happen.’ So, then she ran with it.”

Close has decided to donate the money raised from the fundraiser to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City through the United Way of Pettis County. The funds will be earmarked for children with cancer and will help Pettis County families. She will also donate 20 inches of her hair to an organization that deals with child baldness.

Walter has set up an account, Walter’s Barber Shop Fundraiser, at Central Bank of Sedalia where people can make donations. As of last week, Walter and Close have raised more than $800.

“And what we’ve done is anybody that donates $100 or more, if they want to, we’re going to let them take a clipper and make a complete shave swipe,” Walter said.

When it comes time for the shave, Walter will first section Close’s hair into ponytails so they can be saved for the donation. Then he will take clippers and “buzz it down” as far as he can and then shave Close’s head clean with lather and a straight razor.

“She is one brave young lady,” he noted.

Close, who works as a veterinary assistant at Advanced Pet Care, said she had her long locks cut two years ago and still has two 12-inch ponytails she plans to donate along with her hair from the Nov. 1 cut.

Close admits she’s nervous about losing her locks.

“I’ve never had hair shorter than shoulder length,” she said. “And it’s going to be completely different. I’m just going to let it grow back out and I’m wondering what’s it’s going to do … There’s a lot of people who say it will grow back in different. But you know, it will do whatever it does.”

She said she decided to raise funds for cancer because her own family has been touched by the disease.

“There’s been a lot of cancer, unfortunately, in my family,” she said. “It’s something that if you can help with it, I’d like to help.”

She added there is a correlation with her own soon-to-be baldness and with those who go through cancer treatment.

“But the difference is I know mine’s going to grow back and that’s not something that’s always guaranteed for them,” she said. “I’m not going to lose the eyebrows, I’m not going to lose the hair on my arms. When it’s all gone, it’s completely different.”

Close said her husband, John, was somewhat dismayed at her decision but has settled into the idea with time.

“My husband’s not too thrilled about it … but I joked with him and said now I can rub your bald head and you can rub my bald head,” she said smiling.

UWPC Executive Director Staci Harrison said Walter and Close are using a grassroots method to bring awareness of childhood cancer.

“… She’s raising money so it can help offset costs for families who are experiencing (cancer) in their family with a child,” Harrison said. “We are just very honored that the United Way has been chosen to be part of this … she’s very brave.”

Harrison said she is amazed at the love that Walter and Close are showing through their “acts of kindness” with the fundraiser.

“It’s just tremendous,” Harrison added. “It takes one person, a single person to change the course of life for another human being. And, they are walking, living, breathing models of that.”

Even before one lock of Close’s hair is cut, she’s already planning for next time.  

“If it goes over well, I’ll consider doing it again in a few years,” Close said.

For more information, call Walter at 660-221-6370 or contact Harrison at 660-826-2980 or staci.harrison@spcuw.org.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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