Life Stories

Before Starting Chemo Mom Allows Her 4-Year-Old To Give Her Anything Goes Haircut

The most feared and dreaded disease of the modern era, cancer, leads to the death of millions of people every year.

Unfortunately, we all know someone or have someone close to us, that has been affected by this disease.

An early diagnosis increases the chances of success, but even in this case, cancer treatments are extremely difficult, long, and cause many unpleasant side-effects, such as hair loss.

We all get emotional when our hairstylist does a horrible job since women are somehow emotionally bonded with hair. Therefore, many women who have to undergo chemotherapy find it harder to cope with hair loss than they do with other side-effects of the treatment.

Yet, when a 32-old mother of three was diagnosed with stage-two germ-cell ovarian cancer, she decided to change the approach.

Emilie Orton let her daughter cut her hair after her oncologist advised involving her children in her diagnosis however she could.

The mom recorded the moment when Norah, her 4-year-old daughter, cut her hair and uploaded it on Instagram, where she attempts to raise awareness for the deadly disease.

Before her decision, Emilie wrote about her dilemma concerning cutting all her hair:

I’m feeling scared to take the plunge. Bald? Please no. But it’s definitely time. What if my head is secretly shaped weird? Like a neglected flat spot (is that even a real thing or just my creepy mom brain?) or what if I have a cone-head because I was a ginormous baby when I came out?

Hair is a huge part of our identity. Once you find a good hairstylist you stick with them because they get you — no matter the cost, they’re worth it. And just as it’s every woman’s nightmare to lose their hair, it is every kid’s dream to cut hair.”

The mother adds that Norah, also called “Shug”, is deeply interested in fashion and style, so she was very careful while chapping off all her mom’s hair.

Emilie said that she did a great four-year-old job, being “my favorite and scariest hairstylist I’ve ever had.”

She wrote on Romper:

“Knowing that a beautiful baldness was coming my way terrified me and made me cry on multiple occasions, but I tried to think of the best way to make it bearable for this family of mine. After all, it was not just me going through this cancer journey, but all of us together. And also my hair.”

Emilie’s post quickly went viral, with people praising her for her proactive approach to cancer.

One Instagram user wrote:

“Teared me up! I had my hair cut two years ago. we held a hair-cutting party. my husband shaved his head leaving a mohawk, my daughter (2 years old at a time) got a trim, and had half of my head shaved. My sister-in-law and a friend, trimmed their long ponytails to donate for wigs.”

Another commented:

“I smiled then cried during this video. When I was 10 (I’m now 52), my mother underwent chemo, and one day when her hair started falling out, we sat at the kitchen table, and I brushed all her hair out and into the kitchen trashcan slowly, lovingly, and methodically. You are a wonderful and brave mother for sharing this with your daughter.”

A third wrote:

” This video made me laugh and cry. It is like the first haircut you give a Barbie. You are the best mom ever.”

Her story reminded many of their own experiences:

” I love this. We did the same with my mom when she was going through chemo.”

Emilie documents her cancer journey on her Instagram account, encouraging people to share their own stories, and bravely face reality.

In one of her posts, she admitted experiencing an emotional and physical breakdown during chemotherapy. She wrote that she felt horrible during the frustrating treatment.

Yet, she added that it “isn’t a poor me post but a reality post and a here-is-what-cancer-can-feel-like post. 

Yet, Emilie remains positive and tries to live her best life every day, as it is the right way to beat cancer.

She has fun with her family, she goes shopping, to the beach, does gardening, she volunteers and does everything she can to remain active. She loves holidays and traditions, and this Halloween, her family was dressed up as Harry Potter characters.


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We came to Arizona with one one-year-old child in tow, having never seen a saguaro cactus before in our lives. I laugh now thinking back about how fascinated we were with saguaros and how we kept taking pictures next to them. Which is the equivalent of taking pictures of grass or a street tree or a rock anywhere else. It felt so strange and unknown. After five of some of our very favorite years on Golden Jubilee Drive, we sold the business and came back to Utah to be closer to our families. We returned with now three kids in tow, and so many fantastic memories. It feels so sad to say goodbye to some of my most favorite humans on earth though. Those people are home to me. Family. The kind of friendships you don’t find every lifetime. I may not miss that desert summer heat, but I sure as heck miss our people and the world our family had down there all on our own. Not only that but the desert smell after monsoons, and the cicadas and the cactus all around, especially during the spring. The pocket parks, peewee soccer, and the splash pad, and everything being so familiar. It was home. Now you better believe there’s cactus decorations all over the house here and it’s funny how we’re trying to understand this place and it now feels strange and unknown. Still laughing that we saw ensigns for rent at the library. My how the tables turn. Life is funny that way.

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To every single one of you, fighting with this monstrous disease, remember: You will win this fight.

You are in our prayers.