Hannah the Brave

“It’s shave day, it’s shave day” Hannah screamed as she pounced on our bed last Wednesday morning!  I know it’s been nearly a week since Hannah’s beautiful red locks were shaved off that little head of hers, so I’m sorry to only now be posting about it.

7-year-old Hannah Rose is bravely shaved off her beautiful red locks to honor her 5-year-old sister Natalie Grace (who is in remission from cancer, set to be complete with chemo this November), as well as to honor every other child fighting and who has fought childhood cancer.  Her goal was to show these children that they are not alone.

7-year-old Hannah Rose has bravely shaved off her beautiful red locks to honor her 5-year-old sister Natalie Grace (who is in remission from cancer, set to be complete with chemo this November), as well as to honor every other child fighting and who has fought childhood cancer. Her goal was to show these children that they are not alone.

What an evening…it might have been rainy and cold outside, but inside on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange it was filled with warmth and love as 600 people gathered to not only raise money for childhood cancer research, but also to raise awareness as nine men, two little boys, and one little girl shaved their heads at this Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation event.  When the shaving was set to begin, Dena Sherwood had asked Hannah if she would say a few words.  Hannah grabbed the microphone and began to explain to the crowd surrounding her why she wanted to give up those beautiful red locks for childhood cancer.  Her goals were simple, to donate her hair, to inspire people, and to show kids fighting that they are not alone….done, done and done!

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Hannah LOVES to blog for The Truth 365. This is Hannah holding her blog entry announcing that she would be shaving her head for children fighting childhood cancer. “I’m going to shave my head in honor of all of the children fighting cancer especially my sister Natalie. And I DO NOT CARE if someone makes fun of me because I am beautiful no matter what!” – Hannah Gorsegner

As most of you already know, I went into Hannah’s classroom the day before the event to talk to the kids about what Hannah was doing and why.  I also read a  book to them called The Famous Hat, and together at the end we looked at and discussed photos of Natalie throughout her treatment.  When all said and done, the kids were so excited for Hannah wishing their little friend good luck.  But even with the success of this visit, I was still pretty nervous about the other 575 kids in school who weren’t there to hear the details of what Hannah was about to do.  I was (and still am a little bit) nervous that Hannah would get teased and how she would handle that.  In fact, back when Hannah was persistent about shaving her head to begin with, I did give her this warning, that it was bound to happen via some child who simply wouldn’t understand the magnitude of this selfless act.  At that time she had responded with “I don’t care, I’m beautiful just the way I am.”  With that Dan and I decided to support her in this decision fully!  At one point I even had a child life specialist try to convince me to allow her to show Hannah alternate ways that she can help kids with cancer, rather then to do something so drastic that she very well might regret…but we stuck to our guns because clearly this was very important to Hannah and quite honestly, it would be a valuable life lesson for the good or the bad.

Fast forward to the day of the shave, I felt the need to give Hannah one final warning, that unfortunately we live in a society where many people simply won’t be as supportive as her close friends and family, and that words can hurt more then you’d know.  Then, just as before, Hannah quickly responded, “mommy, I really don’t care, I’ll be fine,” and simply carried on with eating her Cheerios.  Okay, if Hannah is comfortable then I need to get comfortable with everything too…after all, I am the adult here!

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Hannah sits cool as a cucumber with a smile on her face as the stylist shaves off her iconic (to our family + friends) red hair. Photo courtesy of A Guy + A Girl Photography.

After Hannah gave her speech to the crowd of people surrounding her at The Shave, she calmly sat in the chair with a smile, as the stylist began to shave her hair.  You’ll notice in some of the photos that Natalie was crying as she yelled, “I don’t want them to take Hannah’s hair off.”  The stylist Michele reacted quickly by asking Natalie if she’d like to help.  Normally when Natalie’s upset, talking to her is the worst thing that you can do as an outsider…and picking her up, well that leads to a complete flip out.  However with Michele’s offer Natalie nodded yes, was swooped off her feet, then began assisting Michele with Hannah’s shave.  A few moments later she wanted to get down and as Michele continued shaving Hannah’s hair, Natalie was now calm and began picking up the falling pieces of red hair telling me that she wants to take a few pieces home…so we did.

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Hannah’s sister, 5-year-old cancer survivor Natalie Grace, assists stylist Michele with the first shave of Hannah’s beautiful red locks. Photo courtesy of A Guy + A Girl Photography.

As Michele was nearing the end of Hannah’s shave the crowd began to clap and cheer and Hannah’s smile got bigger and bigger.  I put her little face in my hands, kissed her cheeks and told her just how proud of her that I was.  She replied, “Mommy, this is a very powerful moment.”  Can this beautiful creature truly be my child, and is she really only 7-years-old?

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One VERY proud and inspired mama! Image courtesy of A Guy + A Girl Photography.

The very next day, four of the nine men who shaved (along with 7-year-old cancer survivor Billy Sherwood who shaved as well) came to our home at 8:30am just to escort Hannah into her class and to talk to the kids about her selfless act, and how she is their Hero for being so brave.  I was incredibly moved when Dena told me that they wanted to do this for her, and Hannah was simply over the moon to have this support from the guys!

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The four amazing men from Merrill Lynch who commuted to our hometown in the morning to support Hannah by walking her to class and speaking with her classmates about Hannah being their hero (from left to right: James Beale, Joe, Liam O’Neil, Mark Ulrich). Image courtesy of Mike Gillette.

Hannah’s classmates all clapped when she walked in, and took turns rubbing her little head.  One friend even brought in his favorite cowboy hat for her. My sweet girl has gotten nothing but support from her classmates as kids are asking to high-five her wherever she goes (Thank you NS parents).  I even received an e-mail from the PTA president later that day inviting Hannah to their next meeting so that she can be recognized as her school’s Student Ambassador!

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Hannah’s classmates eagerly listen as she and the guys tell them all about the evening. Photo courtesy of Mike Gillette.

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A friend gives Hannah a BIG hug to show her support. Photo courtesy of Mike Gillette.

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Friends take turns rubbing Hannah’s newly shaved head. Photo courtesy of Mike Gillette.

I have never seen Hannah so proud of herself, and the best part is that  instead of getting wrapped up into all of this extra attention, her intentions remain pure as she asks me if I think Julianna would be proud of her (Julianna is our friend who died of childhood cancer just over a year ago).  She truly did this gesture from the bottom of her heart with the hopes of helping others, and there is just nothing more beautiful then that!

I am one proud mommy to say the very least!

BONUS:

The Today Show wrote a beautiful article about  Hannah shaving her head as well as they created a 30 second video to show you Hannah’s head getting shaved so check it out…so awesome!!

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Photo courtesy of Mike Gillette.

19 Comments on “Hannah the Brave

  1. Hannah your are a truly amazing little lady! The world needs more people like you and your family!

    • Full of so many feelings. Hannah the brave, I salute you. Natalie grace, I pray for you. Mom and Dad, wow.

  2. You my dear, you are an amazing inspiration! So very special and intelligent. Keep your smile smiling and your powerful words screaming from the top of your lungs. You have moved myself, as well as many others to tears! I cannot believe the wisdom you have at 7 years old!

  3. Oh, my kind, caring, and beautiful Hannah! Poppy and I love you so much and are so proud of you! Love, Giggy

  4. Hannah, Julianna is smiling down on your beautiful face saying Thank You! and we are all so proud of you! ❤

  5. Hannah, reading your mom’s blog brings happy tears to my eyes. You are quite an amazing young lady who is teaching other kids an important lesson about kindness, caring and supporting others. Natalie is so very lucky to have a big sister like you! I can’t wait to see pictures of all the different hairstyles you will have as your hair grows back. You will be beautiful in every single one! Jamie (who used to work with your dad)

  6. I’m so proud of you! I just entered six month in remission and it brings me so much joy how you are bringing awareness to cancer on behalf of your sister. God bless you!!!

  7. Hannah is an inspiration. Know she gets her humanity from a fabulous family!

  8. Hannah, you are an inspiration not only to your peers (kids your age) but also to adults to feel passionately about something and act on it, not matter what others might say to you. You are going to do great things in your life and this is just the start.

  9. This makes me so happy! I love Hannah’s bravery! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you for being selfless and awesome! 😀

  10. Hi Hannah! I am a 47 year old male who lives in Australia and I just read about you on an Australian news website and had to follow the link to your mum’s blog, with tears in my eyes I must add!!

    What a courageous and loving young lady you are. Your parents, and Natalie, must be the proudest people on the planet right now. Well done too to mum and dad for raising such a wonderful little girl!

    God bless you all

  11. Well done Hannah. I have tears of respect for what you did here. The gesture thought and compassion you have is a lot more than people twice your age. Well done kiddo and dont change a thing for anyone.
    Thank you to the men who supported Hannah and went to her school, you allowed the time to show the world there is still consideration and compassion from men. ❤

  12. Pingback: 7-Year-Old Girl Shaves Her Head In Solidarity With Her Little Sister In Remission From Cancer - A Dead Drop

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