WELLESLEY, Mass. — For Isaac Blake, growing a mullet turned out to be a worthwhile experience.
Not only for himself, but for others as well.
Julia Blake said her son, a top student and three-sport athlete at Wellesley High, had always worn a short buzz cut. Seeing Patrick Kane of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and Jared Allen of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, however, inspired Blake to grow a spectacular, business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back mullet.
More than a year later, the high school junior, a member of the Weston 2nd Ward, Boston Massachusetts Stake, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had grown a thick mane of long, curly locks. His friends loved it, but his parents and LDS Church leaders did not.
“Our bishop, Danny Ainge, suggested to Isaac a couple months ago that he should cut his hair so that he would be known for something besides that,” Julia said. “I thought that would be enough for Isaac to take action. However, he was showing no indications of wanting to cut it.”
Julia Blake persisted in asking her son to remove the waterfall of flowing hair from his head and one day was surprised at his response. Isaac declared that if she raised $1,000 for Compassionate Care ALS in honor of his junior varsity basketball coach Paul Seaver, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, he would allow his marvelous, shoulder-length mullet to be removed.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. Sufferers slowly lose control over their muscle movement and can become paralyzed.
During the 2010-2011 basketball season, Seaver lost his voice but told the team it was allergies. The players didn’t know he had been diagnosed with ALS. When Blake and his teammates learned the truth, they sympathized while admiring his courage and attitude.
Julia said it took her a few emails, a Facebook group and 48 hours to reach the goal of $1,000, and a public haircut was scheduled for Friday, April 27. Blake even held a YouTube press conference to announce the event.
Close to 30 people, including coach Seaver, teammates, teachers, his Mormon ward members, family members and friends, all gathered at the high school track to take turns with the clippers and support the Blake's cause. When the final hair strands fell from Isaac’s head, more than $2,500 had been raised for CCALS and the young athlete shared a hug with his coach.
Seaver called Blake “a fantastic kid” and was grateful for the act of kindness.
Blake said it was hard to see his beloved mullet go, but he knew he had done the right thing.
“I've always thought that a mullet was a very desirable haircut. ... It’s definitely a really bittersweet thing to have it cut,” Isaac told Evan Allen of the Boston Globe. “I feel like sacrificing just my hair, that I have a lot of pride in, to help people with ALS is worth more.”
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