Health & Fitness

Merced girl to donate hair in honor of her uncle battling cancer

Mia Sanchez might be young, but she knows how devastating cancer can be. She wants to make a difference for those suffering from it.

“Oh I’m just a little girl in a great big world hoping for a cure for everyone who hurts and so I pray, pray, pray each and every day that cancer goes away.”

That’s the song that the 8-year-old sings with a miniature guitar everywhere she goes to raise money for cancer. She bought the guitar from money she saved from her birthday.

And that’s not all the Merced girl is doing to try to help and brighten the live of those suffering from cancer.

On Saturday, she will get her first real haircut and donate it to Locks of Love in honor of her uncle, Ray Sanchez. Sanchez is battling thyroid cancer.

He was diagnosed with the disease last October. That’s when Mia’s curiosity about cancer began. “She started asking questions,” her mother, Sandy Sanchez said. “And she asked how she could help.”

Her parents, Sandy and Joe, explained to her that sometimes when people undergo cancer treatments they lose their hair. They also told her that children are also affected by the disease. “My uncle Ray has cancer so I thought I cut and donate my hair for the little people, you know, who have cancer,” she said. “I want to make them very happy. I don’t want people to pick on them” because they have no hair.

Ray, who has undergone three surgeries and two pill radiation treatments since being diagnosed, will cut her long ponytail. “But he won’t get to style” her hair, her mother joked.

Mia has only had two trims in her eight years of life. She will donate about a foot and a half of her hair. “I’m excited, really excited,” she said of the big day.

Her parents are proud. And so is her uncle.

“I think it’s wonderful that she’s doing that at such a young age,” Ray said.

Her actions have brought her family closer to fight for her uncle, her mother said.

The family has become active in the community and has joined the Merced Relay for Life. Their team, La Familia, has about 25 members.

They will participate in this year’s walk, which is scheduled to take place in April.

Little actions can have a big impact.

-Health care reporter Yesenia Amaro