Kevin Stokes, 32, has been growing his hair since 2012 but cut it all off when his one-year-old lost all her hair due to chemo.
Nova Stokes was just 9 months old when she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is a form of cancer that can affect young children's nerve cells. As devastated as he was by the news, the little one's father, Kevin Stokes, came up with a heartwarming way to show his love and support for the now-one-year-old as she battles the disease.
The 32-year-old cut off all his hair—dreadlocks he'd been growing for 10 years—to match young Nova, who lost her own hair after starting chemotherapy two months ago. Speaking of how they came to know about Nova's diagnosis, her mother, Nicolette Stokes, revealed that they realized something was off when the child didn't seem like herself one day. "All of that day, she [was] fine up until later that evening. She just seemed really tired," Nicolette told Good Morning America. "We noticed that her stomach was kind of swollen so we took her into the emergency room because she was nearly unresponsive. And yeah, when we got the news, honestly we were devastated."
Stokes shared that the shocking news came out of nowhere for them. "It was really a shock to us because we knew she wasn't feeling well when we took her to the emergency room," he said. "I think cancer was really the last thing on our minds when we spoke with the doctors." Soon after, the Stokes started researching treatment options and looking for communities and support groups for people who have neuroblastoma. They decided to give her the "best treatment possible" which Nova has been receiving at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City since May.
This Arkansas father decided to shave off all his hair — dreadlocks that he'd been growing for the last 10 years — to match his younger daughter, who lost her own hair after starting chemotherapy. https://t.co/pziSAfr9Nv— ABC News (@ABC) June 23, 2022
She received her first round of chemotherapy in April and started losing her hair quickly. It happened so soon that it startled both her parents. "That was a very emotional day for us," the father-of-two said. "It happened so fast. Like, it honestly happened in a span of a day. It started to fall out the previous night, and then the next day, it was just like over half her head was bald, so we went and just cut the rest," Nicolette added.
The following month, Stokes did something unexpected too. He cut off his dreadlocks; hair he'd been meticulously growing for the past decade. His hair was something people knew him by and he was quite attached to it. "I started growing it in 2012. I've always wanted long hair growing up, so this was my opportunity to grow it out and I just kept growing it. And it meant quite a bit to me," he said. "I also didn't have any plans coming up to cut my hair. But when this situation came up on us, I just felt like it was something I needed to do."
However, solidarity is not the only reason Stokes decided to cut off his beautiful long locks. "I decided that I would cut my hair to support her and also bring awareness to neuroblastoma," he explained. "Because everybody always asks me, 'Why did you cut your hair? Why did you cut your hair?' and that gives me a chance to explain to them what we're going through and her diagnosis and her specific cancer."
People can find out more about Nova's journey on Tiktok where the family posts updates regarding her condition. Last month, they shared a video of Stokes cutting off his long hair with the caption: "Anything for baby Nova!"
@novasnarrative Cancer sucks. Anything for baby Nova!❤️🎗👶🏽👨🏽🦲 #cancersucks #baby #dad #fyp #daddysgirl #beatcancer #novasnarrative #hair #hairloss #haircut #bald #omegapsiphi #cancer #omega ♬ Seen It All - Nike Featuring Chong The Nomad
Stokes revealed that his kids were quite surprised upon seeing the big change in their father's appearance. "[Both of our children] just stared at me. And then as I got close to them, smiling, I picked her up. She's like, 'Aw, this is daddy,' She started smiling and she touched my head and she was rubbing it and slapping it. So it was a shock for them but they came around to it," he shared.
@novasnarrative Still in awe that @Good Morning America reached out to us for an interview! We are so grateful to share Nova’s story worldwide! #novasnarrative #nova #goodmorningamerica #baby #cancersucks #cancer #neuroblastoma #warrior #viral #familytok #love #fyp #stage4cancer #AmazonMusicProudHeroes￼ #babiesoftiktok #toddlersoftiktok #toddler #trending ♬ Trending upbeat corporate sound ♪ - 3KTrack
"We are going to do whatever it takes, ranging from researching all night, or whether it's moving to New York City on faith and just figuring out as we go, how we're gonna get her the help that she needs," Stokes added.
Cover Image Source: YouTube/Good Morning America