Senior honors mother’s illness
Senior Rachel Sackett had joked with her family for years about what she would do if someone she loved was diagnosed with cancer. Every time the answer was the same: she’d shave her head with them. But she never thought the situation would actually present itself.
Sackett’s mom was diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer in January and began chemotherapy treatments.
“I was more shocked than anything,” Sackett said. “You don’t really expect it to happen to your family.”
Even after being diagnosed, her mom continued to joke around with Sackett about both of them shaving their heads.
“My family would joke around with me about it,” Sackett said. “They didn’t think I was being serious. When [my mom] was doing hers, I was like, ‘Why not? Let’s just do mine too. It’s just hair; It’ll grow back.’”
Sackett had her aunt shave her head in order to surprise her mom and family. “[My mom] just started laughing because she knew it was something I would do,” Sackett said. “Some [of my family] cried and told me I was brave. My dad told me it wasn’t a good idea but he was proud of me for it.”
Even though her mom didn’t expect her to actually follow through with shaving her head, Sackett knows that her mom appreciated the show of support.
“I always told her I was going to and she always told me that I didn’t need to do that,” Sackett said. “In a way I think she was happy because she wasn’t the only one who had to do it…I feel like it brought my mom and I closer together.”
Sackett thinks it has made the process easier for her mom to handle.
“Now when we go in public together, people don’t just look at her, they look at both of us,” Sackett said. “It takes some of the pressure off of her.”
Since she shaved her head, Sackett has seen a variety of reactions from her peers.
“I’ve had people message me on Facebook that I haven’t talked to in three years saying that I’m an inspiration,” Sackett said. “I’ve [also] been called a boy already.”
Even though the positive comments don’t go unnoticed, Sackett sometimes questions the motives behind them.
“People I’ve never talked to in my entire life talk to me about it. Ever since I shaved my head, I’ve gotten about 100 friend requests on Facebook,” Sackett said. “I appreciate it, but it hurts in a way because these people wouldn’t have talked to me if I hadn’t done something like that.”
Although Sackett understands why people react strongly to her appearance, she doesn’t appreciate people staring.
“It bothers me when people just stare. If they have a question, I want them to ask it,” Sackett said. “I’m supporting my mom and I chose to do it in this way.”
Despite the variety of both positive and negative reactions she’s experienced, Sackett doesn’t feel shaving her head was a mistake.
“I don’t regret it, but I miss my hair. I love my mom, but I’m ready to have my hair back,” Sackett said. “[Still,] I would do it over and over again if I had to.”