Imagine having your first haircut be a complete head shave. That’s what a 9-year-old New York City girl did to support a family friend who’s battling breast cancer.
Chloe Njapa, of Harlem, came up with the idea after seeing Erica Woda lose her hair due to chemotherapy. Woda, who has been a friend of the family for more than five years and works with Chloe’s mom, was diagnosed five months ago.
Chloe’s mom, Krista Njapa, said it was emotional to have to explain to her two children that Woda, who they spend a lot of time with, would look different — as they hadn’t seen her for most of the summer.
But, it was after that visit that Chloe presented a rather brave idea to her mother.
"Later that night Chloe came to me and said, ‘Mommy would you support me if I decided to shave my hair off?’” Krista told InsideEdition.com. "She also asked me if she would still be beautiful and I said, 'yes, you’ll be beautiful no matter what you do.'"
A week later Chloe had researched all of the organizations she could donate her hair to and the instructions to do so, said Krista. She called her mom at work telling he “she was ready” and that her mom didn’t have to do a thing. She even made a list of pros and cons for the decision.
“When she came to me I felt both fear for how kids might treat her and overwhelming pride in her,” said Krista. “I felt then and continue to feel completely and totally blessed to have such a beautiful human being in my life.”
Krista scheduled the cut appointment at a local shop, but told Chloe she didn’t have to shave her head completely and that she could also just cut it. Chloe, however, was dead set on the shave. It was all smiles and excitement during the cut, Krista said.
“When I initially heard about Chloe's decision I was so touched, but not surprised. Chloe is that type of kid. Very sensitive, wise beyond her years and incredibly kindhearted. She came to this decision 100% on her own, crazy to imagine a 9-year-old deciding to do such a selfless thing,” said Woda.
Woda said she is powering through her journey, but it’s acts of kindness like Chloe’s that make her cry the most. Woda also said the Njapa family has incredibly supportive — even eating dinner with her the night before every chemo treatment.
“We are not friends, we are family. Chloe's mother Krista was with me for my appointments and was with me when I was diagnosed. The family has been integral to getting me through this,” said Woda.
Chloe donated her hair to an organization that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments and other illnesses — “Children with Hair Loss.”
Chloe didn’t want to stop her support there, so the family decided to start a GoFundMe in honor of Woda to share their story. The page has already raised nearly $7,000 of its $10,000 goal.
Chloe said she’s not sure if she’ll grow her hair back because she likes it both ways. But, she has no more fears of kids teasing her about it. “They like it,” she said, referring to kids at school.
“As a mother you can only hope that one day you will have a moment that lets you know [your children] are listening, that they are good people and that you haven't completely broken them. To have such a moment with Chloë at only 9 has filled me with gratitude and love and peace."