Jackson Mumford’s hair would grow back, because it had grown to 18 inches over two-plus years, a foot and a half of dark blond flow. That was long enough for a man bun. Long enough for dirty looks. Long enough for the kid out there without the locks that had come in so painlessly for Mumford.
And anyway, the start of summer was near, and it was bound to be hot and humid again, so why keep growing it out if he couldn’t wear it down? The Towson men’s lacrosse team’s rising sophomore midfielder went to White Marlin Mall in Ocean City last week, where he’d always gotten his hair cut. The first thing his stylist did was determine what so many others surely had wondered about: just how ridiculously long it was. As little as a foot down the sides, it turns out, and up to the 18 inches down the back. “Which I’m kind of proud of,” Mumford said, but not as proud as the cause it supported.
After his curly mane had been wrangled into about a dozen strands with rubber bands, then chopped off, wound tightly, rolled individually in tissue paper, bagged, documented and sent off to help make a custom wig, he said he felt 10 pounds lighter. This was the most hair he’d ever had on his head. This was the least he could do.
“I thought it was an easy way to give back,” he said of his donation to Wigs for Kids, a nonprofit organization that benefits children who have undergone hair loss, whether because of chemotherapy, burns, alopecia or other medical conditions. “Because all it is is just hair.”
Mumford’s mother goes by Fuzzy, which, no, is not a reference to her own tresses. She works as a cancer care navigator at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Mumford’s hometown. She’s the one who showed him what cancer can do to a body, and a family.
Mumford has what he calls “feminine hair,” and if he got that from Fuzzy, too, his days at Stephen Decatur High were an unabashed tribute. Long hair was not uncommon among his lacrosse teammates — this being a public-school lacrosse team, after all — and Mumford decided early on that he wanted to grow his ’do out. His last cut before last week’s: March 1, 2014, his junior year of high school.