- The mother-son duo Melanie and Matt Shaha live in Arizona.
- Melanie told Today she lost her hair after undergoing radiation treatment for a brain tumor.
- Matt grew his hair out for two and a half years and then paid $2,000 to have a wig made for his mother.
An Arizona mom lost her hair while undergoing radiation treatment for a brain tumor, so her son grew his hair out and had it made into a $2,000 wig.
Melanie Shaha, a mother of six, told Today’s Elise Solé that doctors first discovered her benign pituitary brain tumor in 2003.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the pituitary gland is a small organ attached to the base of the brain that produces hormones that control “many” bodily functions, such as growth and fertility. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 10,000 pituitary tumors are diagnosed annually in the United States.
Melanie underwent surgery to remove the tumor, which, according to Today, grew to the size of a plum, but underwent a second procedure in 2006 after it returned. When the tumor returned for the third time in 2017, she was prescribed radiation.
The National Cancer Institute said radiation therapy could cause hair loss on the treated area. The institute notes that hair typically grows back in 3 to 6 months, but high doses of radiation can cause hair to grow back thinner or not at all.
“You have no hair, you stick out like a sore thumb and well-meaning people can say things that break your heart,” she told Today. “I don’t mind being sick, but I don’t mind looking sick. I’d rather blend in with the store and not stand out.”
According to Today, Melanie’s 27-year-old son Matt made a joke in 2018 that sparked an idea during a family dinner.
“I said, ‘Why don’t I grow my hair out to make you a wig?'” Matt told the outlet, adding that he was growing his hair out at the time because the university he attended, had strict rules about hair length.
Although Melanie initially didn’t want to accept her son’s offer, he persevered and grew 12 inches of hair by the end of March this year, according to Today. KSAZ, a local news station in Phoenix, Arizona, reports that Matt grew his hair out over a two-and-a-half year period.
With the help of his colleagues, Matt cut off his long locks in March this year, according to Today.
“We were super pumped up and when they started cutting, we yelled,” Melanie told Today.
They then sent the hair to Compassionate Creations in Newport Beach, Calif., where it was assembled into a hand-sewn wig, Today reported. KSAZ reports that the wig cost $2,000.
“The color is spectacular and we had it cut and styled at the hairdresser’s,” Melanie told Today. “Matt said it looks great on me.”
“It’s a no-brainer,” Matt told KSAZ. “She gave me the hair in the first place.”
The Shahas did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.