A 10-year-old boy from Georgia grew his hair for two years as a special gift to his female friend.
Tyler Boone and 12-year-old Gabby Ruiz, who lives in Florida, have been long-distance friends for years, WFTS reports. Gabby was diagnosed with alopecia areata when she was 4-years-old.
Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune skin disease that causes hair loss on the scalp, face and, in some cases, other areas of the body, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. As many as 6.8 million people of all ages, sexes and ethnic groups in the U.S. are affected by the disease. The foundation states that the hair follicles do remain alive in alopecia areata sufferers and hair can regrow at any time.
Gabby has not been able to grow her hair, even with different types of treatments, according to WFTS. Two years ago, Tyler decided he wanted to help Gabby by growing his hair out to eventually be made into a wig for her.
His selfless act resulted in him being mistaken for a girl more times than he can count.
“I’m used to it now,” he said, adding that he just wants to make Gabby happy.
When the time came to cut his hair, Tyler met Gabby at a JCPenney store at a mall in Florida for a photo shoot. The two took pictures for nearly an hour, and the moment Gabby personally cut Tyler’s hair was captured.
Tyler’s hair will be donated to Children with Hair Loss, a nonprofit organization, to make a wig for Gabby. The organization does not charge children for wigs, according to its website.
Children with Hair Loss helps children who have lost their hair from cancer, as well as those suffering from alopecia, burns, Trichotillomania and other rare diseases and disorders. The organization provides a customized human hair replacement and care kit to more than 300 children annually.
After the photo shoot ended and Tyler no longer had 12-inches of hair, he was treated to a new haircut at a salon in the mall.
“It’s cool,” Gabby said to Tyler of his new buzz cut, WFTS reports.