Growing your hair long is a right of passage. For one local boy his long locks has become a way to give back to those in need.
Ten-year-old Gage Andreas Marcel Archer, a 5th grade student at Our Lady of Lourdes School in West Kelowna, is growing out his hair and raising money for the Children’s Hospital.
“I’m raising money for Balding for Dollars and all the money’s going to the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver,” Archer told the Capital News. “I’m doing it for my aunt and cousin because they had cancer when they were younger and they had to use wigs, so I decided to do it.”
Archer started growing out his hair in June 2016 and will cut it all off in May 2018 in Vancouver to have his hair turned into wigs for cancer patients in need. Joining him will be his cousin Alana, who is a cancer survivor and gets her hair cut every May. Archer’s sister, Abigayle, has also been inspired to grow out her hair and donate it at the same event.
“My niece started the Balding for Dollars, so then I went from that and I thought, ‘well let’s do that with Gage as well,’” said Archer’s “Grammi” Lori Rapp. “I did up the Go Fund Me page and I’ve been blasting it all over my Facebook and Twitter.”
The Go Fund Me page originally had a $500 goal, but after passing the goal in the first week they decided to raise the amount to $1,000 to continue raising money for Children’s Hospital. The campaign will continue until Archer’s hair is cut in May.
“Just a regular haircut, I guess,” Archer said when asked how short his hair will be cut. “Every single time I get a haircut it feels weird, like, ‘oh my goodness where did all my hair go?’”
With the support from family and friends raising money, Archer has still met some challenges.
“I’ve been bullied at school, saying that I’m transgender and gay, but I just ignore them,” Archer said. “I like my hair how it is and I don’t really care what they think because they’re not me and I’m not them.”
Archer also suffers from eczema and asthma, which has led to bullying and challenges in his day-to-day life.
“Some people also bully me about that, saying that I look weird, but also like I said it’s not really anything; it’s just normal for me,” he said. “A couple weeks ago I couldn’t walk, since I had staph infections all over my feet, so I couldn’t go to school, but it doesn’t really bother me as much because I’m used to it.”
Being able to raise money for the Children’s Hospital has inspired Archer to tackle other projects in the future, but for right now he’s not sure what.
“This is so brand new,” Rapp said. “We just started Oct. 4 and within the first week we raised $500. Now today that’s $785 within two weeks.”
Despite being bullied for his long hair, it has not hindered his drive to continue his cause.
“I think he’s amazing for doing it,” Rapp said. “He’s got a heart of gold anyways. If I start talking about him too much I’ll cry. I’m very proud of him.”
“I’m just happy that I’m doing it,” Archer said, “and I don’t care how people think.”
As of publication, Gage’s GoFundMe page has earned over $1,000 and counting.