Almost two years to the day he first started growing out his hair, Washington Redskins running back Roy Helu Jr. last week cut off his signature ponytail in favor of a more high-and-tight look.
Admitting that he’s going to miss his long hair at times, Helu Jr.’s decision to cut hair goes much deeper than fashion choice.
Before the start of this season, the Nebraska product had considered cutting it off to ensure opponents wouldn’t drag him down by his ponytail.
But, when offseason workouts really ramped up and the birth of his son came, there simply wasn’t time to see a barber.
“My wife came up with the great idea that we should cut it when the baby comes – our first child – because she wanted to cut her hair as well,” Helu Jr. told Redskins.com’s Andrew Walker. “So, time comes around and we get to out young boy being born, and I have to leave a couple days later, so baby’s still in the hospital and we end up not cutting our hair mostly because time restraints.”
His wife and he came up with a different plan instead — grow out their hair until October and then donate it to breast cancer patients.
“We came up with just a better idea to cut it and donate it for breast cancer awareness month for the NFL and that was during this past month in October,” he said. “And we waited until the very end of October, which was this past weekend, to cut it. My wife did her due diligence for both of us and we decided to donate through Painting Pro V and they partner with American Cancer Association and the minimum is eight inches of hair.
“It goes directly to patients who are women who’ve had cancer of some sort who cannot grow their hair back.”
Helu Jr.’s hope is that his donation will bring joy to those battling breast cancer and may not be able to grow their own hair.
“There’s a sense of fulfillment in knowing that this hair will go to hopefully offer a glimpse of hope in some way to a woman who can’t grow her hair all the way back,” he said. “And also knowing that you’re getting in on something bigger than yourself. There’s already an organization set up where it’s as easy as you cutting your hair you’ve grown and sending it off. It’s nice.
“I’m always talking to my wife and she was debating whether to go really short or not and I said ‘You can always grow your hair back,’ and the women who’ve gone through a terminal illness, specifically cancer, they don’t really have that opportunity. She went short. It’s something that was easy for us.”
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