HAVERHILL — After growing out his hair for three years, 9-year-old Max Gagne decided to have his strawberry blond locks cut off to help in the fight against colon cancer.
“I just wanted to do it for my grandfather because he has it,” said Max, a Haverhill resident who will enter fourth grade at Bradford Elementary School. “I don’t want to see people have colon cancer.”
Max’s grandfather, Tom Gagne, 64, was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer about a year ago. The Gagnes came together as a family to bring awareness to this deadly disease by raising money for the Colon Cancer Coalition.
“I am a big advocate about getting the word out and get your rear in gear and get your butt checked,” Tom said. “You’ve got to get a colonoscopy, you’ve got to get one – everybody – don’t wait 10 years, at least five years, even if you have to pay for it. You know why? Because it’s a preventable disease.”
Phil Gagne, Max’s father, started a fundraiser about 10 days ago. The culmination of that fundraiser took place on Father’s Day when Tom cut Max’s hair on Facebook Live. The haircut took place at the grandfather’s home on Salisbury Beach.
The Gagnes raised $8,450 online for the Colon Cancer Coalition, then Tom and his wife matched that amount for a whopping $16,900.
And for Max – a budding rock star – parting with his hair was no easy task.
“He’s a huge Beatles fan and he’s really into music, so that’s why he grew out his hair,” his father said.
“He really loves his hair, so the fact that he’s willing to do this … I’ve been trying to get him to get haircuts for years. He sings and plays guitar, you know, it was his.”
Max said he plans on growing his hair out again next summer.