It’s a pretty brave woman who lets her toddler near her hair with scissors. But that’s exactly what Utah mom Emilie Orton is. She was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer last summer and made it a priority to involve her three kids in the treatment process.
“Right before I started chemo, my doctor said, ‘remember this is emotional for your kids too. You’re not the only one going through it,’” 32-year-old Orton told Today Parents. “He suggested I find a way to involve them.”
So when her hair started falling out, she made her 4-year-old daughter her stylist. “Norah is so into hair stuff. She’ll notice details like someone’s glittery eye shadow,” Orton said. “She doesn’t get it from me.”
She filmed Norah (a.k.a. Shug) cutting her hair, posted the clip on social media, and it quickly went viral.
“After I started losing my hair from chemo, I told Shug she could cut my hair however she wanted,” Orton wrote alongside her post. “And she was in heaven and did a fantastic 4-year-old job. My most favorite and scariest hairstylist I’ve ever had.”
The Instagram post received dozens of messages of support and solidarity, with other parents sharing similar experiences.
One viewer 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 pony tails 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.”
“Wishing you all the prayers, love and luck you need,” wrote another well-wisher. “What an amazing woman you are. You have brightened my day by your actions, love and spirit. Shug did an amazing job.”
At one point in the video, with her hair growing shorter and shorter, Orton notes that Norah just keeps going. We can see the 4-year-old is totally focused, and it’s clear she’s taking her job seriously. Text appears on the screen: “She’s got her business face on…” She really does!
Another video shows Orton’s husband, clippers in hand, finishing off the job Norah started, and Orton shared her kids’ response to her newly shaved head.
“We’ve had all the reactions,” she wrote. “And still double-take when I wake up again every morning. Hopefully we get used to it soon. Because it’s a pretty big shock factor. We keep talking about how it means that chemo is working and cancer is leaving. Bald is good. The good bald. Is there a good bald? Let’s call this the good bald haircut.”
Good bald haircut. Amazing mom. And incredible kids.