ENCINITAS — Normally, Bristle Salon is closed on Mondays — but not this week. Dozens of people lined up for haircuts to aid a 3-year-old girl’s fight with cancer.
This past fall, doctors found a mass in Caroline Wrathall’s kidney, and later diagnosed her with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare cancer.
Tallying online donations and those made at Bristle Salon, the event Cuts for Caroline raised $10,369. Additionally, chopped-off hair went to Wigs for Kids and Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, which are two nonprofits that create wigs from donated hair for cancer patients.
“It’s amazing and humbling when people you don’t even know want to help you,” said Cheryl Wrathall, Caroline’s mother.
So far, Caroline, who loves ballet and art, has been through several rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor.
“She’s been strong throughout,” Cheryl said. “When she’s not thinking about it, she still wants to play and go to the park and do all the normal 3-year-old stuff.”
Over the next year, Caroline will undergo surgery to remove the tumor, further chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, radiation therapy and immunotherapy.
Along with the emotional toll of the cancer, there’s also the financial burden.
“Fortunately, we do have insurance,” Cheryl said. “But still, every time she goes to the hospital, it’s a bill for whatever specialist sees her, treatment that she gets, overnight stays and whatnot.”
The family, including Cheryl’s husband Reza Wrathall, live in Carlsbad.
Ann Ross, a family friend, organized the event. Seeing Caroline lose her hair inspired the haircut fundraiser, Ross noted, adding that the event quickly gained traction on social media websites.
“When you see Caroline’s face, how do you not want to help?” Ross said.
For the event, Bristle Salon’s stylists worked for free and donated their tips to maximize the funds raised.
“It was (a) great cause for an amazing little girl,” said Brett Rhoades, co-owner of the salon.
To donate to Caroline, visit gofundme.com/caring-for-caroline.