Cancer has added unpredictability to Mckenzi Middlebrooks’ life, but she decided she was going to maintain control over one thing -- her hair. Before it would inevitably fall victim to her many rounds of chemotherapy, she got rid of it on her own terms.
“I had a perspective where cancer and chemo kind of control your life,” Middlebrooks, who is battling ovarian cancer and neuroblastoma, told ABC News. “I wanted to take control and basically say chemo and cancer can’t decide when I lose my hair. I want to. At least that was one thing I could have control over.”
I wasn't going to let cancer have control over me . I was gonna choose when I lost my hair. That day was today. pic.twitter.com/4DC069UAAn— Mckenzi Middlebrooks (@mckenzi426) April 16, 2017
Her father shaved her head while her mother, her siblings and three of her closest friends looked on, with one friend filming the emotional moment. Middlebrooks didn’t initially intend to post the video to social media, but later that night she decided it might help someone else who is going through something similar. The tweet, posted earlier this week, has garnered about 26,000 retweets and a huge response from both friends and strangers.
@mckenzi426 wow you inspire me so much girl! you're so strong and beautiful. i admire your strength so much!! ??????— persian girly?? (@saraglov3r) April 16, 2017
@mckenzi426 You are absolutely beautiful & such a fighter !!! I admire your heart and your strength !!! Praying for you !! ????— madeleine morris (@madrmorris) April 16, 2017
“People were like, ‘You helped my cousin be brave enough to shave her head,'” Middlebrooks said. “I was happy I could help them.”
She was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the young age of 14. After chemotherapy, stem cell transplants and multiple surgeries, she was in remission for two years. Just after last Christmas, a scan revealed that traces of the ovarian cancer had returned, as well as a new form of cancer -- neuroblastoma. Middlebrooks is now undergoing five chemo treatments every 21 days. She and her family have set up a Facebook page for people to follow her story.
“Her video is not only giving somebody else the courage to take control of their situation, but it’s bringing awareness to child cancer, and especially that children can get ovarian cancer,” Middlebrooks’ mother, Janice Middlebrooks, told ABC News. “The response has just been overwhelming. We never expected it … it’s just amazing.”