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Kindness, Common Sense, and Cancer

March 28th, 2014

Friends Kamryn Renfro and Delaney Clements. Photo via Facebook

Nine-year old Kamryn Renfro shaved her head last weekend so that her friend, Delaney Clements –who has cancer and lost all her hair from the treatments — wouldn’t feel alone.

It was a brave act of compassion, especially by someone so young. You can imagine what it might be like to show up to school Monday totally bald and being the only one.

Kamryn had been excited to share what she’d done with her 3rd-grade friends at her Colorado school (Delaney goes to a different school).

But she was told she wasn’t allowed to come. Her shaved head went against the school’s dress code.

School administrators called an emergency meeting Tuesday and voted 3-1 to make an exception for Kamryn — but not before news of this traveled all over the country … and had many people asking how a dress code could be more important than kindness.

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Photo credit: Derek Burke/Glam Runner

There’s also outrage this week over a popular magazine, SELF, that made fun of these women for running a marathon in tutus.

It was especially hurtful because the woman on the right, Monika Allen, makes the tutus and donates some of the money from selling them to charity.

She also has brain cancer and ran the marathon while she was undergoing chemotherapy. Running a marathon is already a big accomplishment. Doing it under those circumstances is totally amazing.

When SELF magazine asked if they could use the photo, Monika Allen thought it might be for something positive. But it turns out SELF wanted it to make fun of them and didn’t look into the story behind the photo. When it ran, the caption read: “lame” and “these people think frou frou skirts make you run faster. Now, if you told us they made people run away from you faster, maybe we would believe it.”

But many outraged people (and there are a lot of them) are saying it’s not okay to be mean-spirited and misleading like this, no matter what. And that the women should have been celebrated for being active and doing it with a sense of flair. But the special meaning behind the tutus and Monika Allen’s run sure does make it worse.

Ironically, the charity Monika Allen donates a portion of her tutu sales to, Girls on the Run , does the very thing SELF magazine should have done with the photo — empower girls. Girls on the Run gets girls active, builds their self-confidence, and encourages them to support each other.

The magazine’s editor acknowledges they’ve tripped up and has since apologized … but many think SELF needs to do more.

HTE hopes they’ll commit to building women up, not tearing them down.

UPDATE March 28, 2014 @ 6:00 pm. SELF magazine editor Lucy Danziger’s interview with Monika Allen, click here.

What do you think of SELF’s print interview to help make up for their mistake?

(The video below is a local news station’s interview)

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