Girl donates hair and ring to make family’s grief better

Written by Staff Writer Written by Staff Writer Jackie Frank Tho Thi Nguyen, a seventh-grader from Arkansas, was crowned the Garden City Gator mascot in October 2010. In the fall of 2012, the family…

Girl donates hair and ring to make family's grief better

Written by Staff Writer

Written by Staff Writer Jackie Frank

Tho Thi Nguyen, a seventh-grader from Arkansas, was crowned the Garden City Gator mascot in October 2010. In the fall of 2012, the family she led was told that Tho Thi’s grandfather, Jimmy Lunen, had died of lung cancer at the age of 63. That was not all that helped the tragic circumstance; the sudden death of a grandparent is also likely to bring upon mood swings and anxiety disorders.

Surrounded by her parents, Jimmy Lunen’s girlfriend and her grandfather’s friends and family, Tho Thi and her family threw themselves into a tiring and chaotic festival of recovery and understanding.

As most seventh-grade boys would do, Tho Thi wanted to celebrate. Her family wanted a celebration to remember.

So she offered her cherished hair and crown for a dance. Tho Thi said that her ring and hair felt much needed to her family, so she voluntarily decided to donate them. She chose to go the extra mile — giving the ring and hair to a young family in a time of deep loss. Her grandpa was a mentor and a friend for many people, and Tho Thi wanted to give something of him to ease their pain.

It was not a decision that came easily, because the process seemed deeply personal to Tho Thi, whose family does not usually attend church.

But volunteers arrived to help her select and hand out the large hat and wig in a pile in the living room. Tho Thi was honored and proud when she handed out the hair with loving care. The family requested privacy, and Tho Thi felt grief for her grandpa too. Her family wanted to talk about something other than her.

“I felt really sad for this family,” Tho Thi said. “But I had to do this for them because their family is missing him.”

“She gave these to someone who needs it,” she added. “She did that out of kindness.”

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