It is not often that you see a child giving the barber a haircut. However, Beckett Berge was able to do just that.
Berge and his sisters were honored at an event, hosted by the organization Leia’s Kids and Rod’s Barbershop. As part of the celebration, Matthew Odom sat still while 5-year-old Berge and his older sister Aubrey gave Matthew a close buzz cut.
Leia’s Kids is an organization founded by Leia Hunt. Hunt survived childhood cancer and later decided she had to make a difference with her life. Diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer, when she was 2 years old, Hunt spent the majority of her childhood in treatment and then follow-up care. Once she was in high school, Hunt realized that she wanted to help other families who had fought against cancer like her family had.
“We partner with our community members to raise money and awareness for a local family battling childhood cancer,” Hunt said. “We are donating to a little boy named Beckett today. He has leukemia. I want to meet these families and these kids. There is still good in what they are going through, and I want them to know that. There is so much negativity in the moment, but if we can focus on the positive and change our mindsets we can save more people. I want people to find hope in their struggles and to form community.”
Berge was excited for the celebration.
“I really like being able to give Mr. Matthew a haircut,” Berge said. “I am going to take all of his hair off. I am going to make him have funny hair. I think I get presents and some cake too. I even get to wear a crown.”
Kaitlin Berge, Beckett’s mother, said, “Beckett was diagnosed with leukemia on April 25, 2018. He spent 35 days in the hospital, including time in ICU. He is undergoing monthly chemotherapy and steroids and will finish in August of 2019. He has lost his ability and had to relearn to walk twice since his diagnosis.
“We want the public to know that childhood cancer is out there,” Kaitlin Berge said. “People want to believe it is really rare, and it is actually fairly common. We want to do events like this to educate people on the different types of cancer and what it is like for the families. It is hard on Beckett’s older sister Aubrey, for example. She has grown up a lot during this. They are best friends, and it is hard that she is not able to be with him sometimes. So celebrations like this, when we are all together, they are extra special to the siblings as well.”
Rodney Odom, owner of Rod’s Barber Shop, has a history of supporting childhood cancer fundraisers.
“Today we are raising money for Beckett and his family, to show support and help them with the expenses that go along with treating his cancer,” Odom said. “We have always tried to help out with different organizations that raise awareness about cancer. This is our way of giving back to the city of Allen and the community. We have been here 42 years, and we try to support the community through the schools. This is another opportunity we have to give. Allen is a good and giving town. People have always been willing to give back, buying masks in here, and giving donations.”
Rod’s Barber Shop raised $1,000 for Berge’s family, through donations and selling masks. Hunt presented Beckett with the check, along with words of encouragement.
“I knew that I was alive for a reason,” Hunt said at the ceremony. “There was a reason that my family was able to survive having a child with cancer, and all that goes with that. I am thankful for my battle with cancer because my cancer has brought good in my life. My cancer has brought me my faith and my relationship with my family. It has given me the chance to meet kids like you, Beckett, and others that are going through the same battle. I have a new view of life that so many kids do not get to have. Beckett will be able to experience this gift from God, the gift of being able to see life differently because you survived cancer.”