Anela Kinkade, 12, is precisely the age when hairstyle starts to matter to girls — a lot. Knowing this adds even more value to what Anela, a student at Boyle County Middle School, did in front of a cheering crowd (and her hysterical mother) during a St. Baldrick’s Foundation event at Centre College in late April.
Anela was attending the event with her mother Niki, brother Charlie, sister Evey and father John, who is a professor at Centre.
“I asked my mom if I could have my head shaved, too, to donate to help kids with cancer,” Anela said. “And she said ‘yes,’ but it was like, ‘ha ha yes,’ so then when she saw I was actually doing it ...”
Mom thought her daughter was joking. What happened next is a matter of public record and likely will become family folklore.
Mom saw daughter. Daughter was onstage, getting her head shaved. Mom freaked.
“She came running onstage and she was screaming for them to stop, but it was too late,” Anela said.
Kinkade was only doing what moms do, which is to try to protect their children from impulsive behavior that has long-term consequences such as sticking a finger in an electrical outlet or chasing a ball into the street or having a head shaved without considering what that might be like tomorrow.
It wasn’t until Anela was getting ready to go to school the following Monday that the girl with her heart in the right place saw the middle school girl in the mirror. Suddenly, she understood what her mom had wanted her to think through.
She was bald. Really bald. And it was time for school.
“I¿was nervous,” she said. “But it was OK. A few people even said I was a ‘hero’ for doing it. I¿got a lot of attention at school.”
Her sister, who “never” hugs her, asked to touch her stubbly head and gave her a hug, and her baby brother is delighted that “Nela cut her hair!”
She raised $250 at the event and an additional $200 at her church, Trinity Episcopal, where she also gave a speech.
Family and friends are continuing to contribute so she has already exceeded her $550 original goal.
She has a “ask me why I’m bald” shirt to wear to continue to solicit contributions and reminds everyone that donations can easily be made to www.stbaldricks.org.
Her long hair will be made into a wig for someone suffering the effects of chemotherapy that includes hair loss. Maybe the wig made from her hair will go to a 12-year-old girl.
So far, Anela said, there has been “nothing bad about it. Nothing. But, next year ... I think I will probably just give money.”
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is also 12 years old this year and has grown since it started out as movement to fund more childhood-cancer research grants than any other private entity, according to its website.