News / Ottawa

Ottawa boy bullied for having long hair, was growing it for cancer patient's wig

Snip, snip and it's gone.

“Now that I got rid of my hair, there’s now way  they can make fun of me,” said 10-year-old William Panter while getting about eight inches of hair cut off on Thursday.

He grew his hair for about 18 months, putting up with teasing and name-calling, until it was long enough to make a wig for someone with cancer.

His grandmother died from the disease in March 2011. Her death was very hard on him, but he realized what he could do to help someone. The hair, cut at Diann’s Hair Salon in Orleans, which often does Cuts for Cancer fundraisers, will go to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

His dad, Nik Panter, said the past year-and-a-half of hair growing hasn't been easy on his son.

"I've got a 10-year-old who's been openly called a f** and gay," he said.

Kids of all ages called William those names because his hair was different, said Panter. William, an intelligent kid who grew up in a tolerant household, knows what those words mean but struggled to understand why they were supposed hurt him.

An adult soccer coach, old enough to know better, would repeatedly refer to William as a girl, despite being fully aware he isn’t, said Panter.

"It's not too hard to figure out how a lot of these kids know how to call other people names," said Panter.

One of the names he got at school was “brownielocks,” William said.

“I was at a new school and the main bully kept making fun of me,” he said. That bully and some of the other students didn’t know he was growing his hair for a good cause, but now he hopes they’ll regret what they said.

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