Ten years ago, Kevin Stokes of Conway, Arkansas started to grow his hair.
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After all these years, Kevin’s dreadlocks stretched all the way down his back, and he never dreamed of cutting them. Then, his family’s world turned upside down. His youngest daughter Nova, who was only 9 months old, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer.
The family dropped everything to help their daughter recover. Her cancer is stage 4 and high-risk, so they found the best doctors to treat her all the way in New York City at Memorial Sloan Kettering Center. They started flying to and from treatments, starting a GoFundMe to help with the expenses.
“Life has totally been totally turned upside down for us,” said mom Nicolette Stokes. “Just having to fly back and forth, we’re really not able to work at our jobs on a consistent basis.”
Even though they knew that Nova could lose her hair during chemotherapy, it was still a shock to see it happen to their baby girl.
“That was a very emotional day for us,” Kevin recalled.
“It happened so fast,” Nicolette agreed. “Like, it honestly happened in a span of a day. It started to fall out the previous night, and then the next day, it was just like over half her head was bald, so we went and just cut the rest.”
Hoping to show his daughter that she’s not fighting alone, Kevin got an idea. He’s known for his hair, and considers it a big part of who he is as a person. He realized that cutting it off would not only help Nova, but it would open the door for conversations about what is going on with his family.
“I decided that I would cut my hair to support her and also bring awareness to neuroblastoma,” he said. “Because everybody always asks me, ‘Why did you cut your hair? Why did you cut your hair?’ and that gives me a chance to explain to them what we’re going through and her diagnosis and her specific cancer.”
Kevin chopped off several feet of dreadlocks, then shaved his head bald. He said Nova and her sister were very surprised to see him without his trademark locks, but they quickly realized he’s still the same old daddy.
“[Both of our children] just stared at me,” he said. “And then as I got close to them, smiling, I picked her up. She’s like, ‘Aw, this is daddy,’ She started smiling and she touched my head and she was rubbing it and slapping it. So it was a shock for them but they came around to it.”
What a wonderful thing to do. There’s clearly nothing this dad won’t do for his kids! We’re sending all of our best wishes and warm hugs for the Stokes family as they continue to support Nova in her fight.
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