For the past two years, 10-year-old Cooper Wilson has let his hair grow wild and free. He has been bribed countless times to cut his locks, but always declined. Now, he's finally ready to donate his many inches.
The Guy-Perkins fourth grader began growing out his hair in October 2016. His mother, Lacey Blair Wilson, said that while her son has been mocked, criticized and bribed to cut his hair, he has remained loyal to his plan, with his heart set on donating his locks to a greater cause.
"He's a super sweet kid and wants to help all the time," Lacey said of her son, "Coop."
After seeing two classmates and a family friend having to undergo chemotherapy treatments and lose their hair, Coop became inspired to step up and help in a way he could follow through with -- by donating his hair to make a wig for another child. He also is asking others who previously attempted to pay him off with $20 to get a haircut to come forward and pay up so that he can not only provide his locks for charity, but so he can also raise funds to provide wish-list items for young patients at the Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.
Lacey said several people have offered to give Coop $20 over the past two years so he would go get his hair cut.
At one point, he turned down a $50 bribe.
"With a big smile on his face, it's always been, 'No, I'm good,' because he knew he wanted to have it cut and donated," Lacey said as she recalled her son's determination to reach his goal. "So, for all those people [who have] offered him money to cut his hair, he'd like to collect it now!"
The young boy plans to continue collecting money through Nov. 19 in hopes of gathering $500 to use toward purchasing wish-list items for the Arkansas Children's Hospital.
Money collected will help provide new toys, games, coloring books, crayons and other items for the children in the Oncology Clinic at ACH.
Lacey said she is proud of her son for not giving up on his objective.
Thinking back to when Coop announced at 8 years old his intention to donate to a greater cause, Lacey said she remembers the struggle, but more so her son's drive to conquer his ambitions.
A younger Cooper "seriously hated haircuts" and agreed with his mother he would at least get it gut for the school's 2016 Fall Festival. Since then, he has taken his oath seriously and is now ready to make the final cut.
The journey wasn't something Lacey described as easy.
"This choice hasn't been easy for Cooper," she said. "He's now 10, in the fourth grade and has over 10 inches of hair to donate. He's been made fun of by kids and sadly by adults too. He's been called names, he's been mistaken for a girl so many times we've lost count. But, my Cooper just goes on with that adorable smile on his face. He's never let the talk bring him down or change his mind. He's showed courage just by being different and standing out, by doing something he believes in. Cooper has the most kind, giving and loving heart of any kid I know and we could not be more proud of the kid that he is."
The fourth grader said he is happy for the support he has received and hopes to reach his $500 goal to help provide for the children at ACH.
"I'm happy that I'm able to do this and all I want to do is make the children that are sick happy too," the 10-year-old said, adding he was thankful and appreciative for the support and encouragement he has received by many along the way.
The young, Guy-Perkins student is asking county residents to contribute to "Cooper's Cut for Cancer" by sending donations P.O. Box 123, Guy, Arkansas 72061 or by contacting his mother at 501-581-6000.