A mother lost her hair due to a brain tumor — so her son grew his hair for over 2 years to make a wig for her

A mother lost her hair due to a brain tumor — so her son grew his hair for over 2 years to make a wig for her
·3 min read
Melanie and Matt Shaha
Melanie Shaha (left) and Matt Shaha (right) of Arizona.Courtesy of Mercedes Berg Photography
  • Mother-son duo Melanie and Matt Shaha live in Arizona. 

  • Melanie told "Today" that she lost her hair after undergoing radiation treatment for a brain tumor. 

  • Matt grew his hair for two and a half years, then paid $2,000 to have a wig made for his mother.

An Arizona mother lost her hair while undergoing radiation treatment for a brain tumor, so her son grew out his hair and had it made into a $2,000 wig.

Melanie Shaha, a mother of six, told Today's Elise Solé that doctors first discovered her benign brain tumor of the pituitary gland in 2003.

Melanie Shaha and Matt Shaha
Matt (right) is one of Melanie's (left) six children.Courtesy of Mercedes Berg Photography

According to The National Cancer Institute, the pituitary gland is a small organ attached at the base of the brain that makes hormones that control "many" of the body's functions like growth and fertility. Around 10,000 pituitary tumors are diagnosed annually in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.

Melanie had surgery to remove the tumor, which grew to be the size of a plum according to "Today," but in 2006 she underwent a second procedure after it returned. In 2017 when the tumor returned for the third time, she was prescribed radiation treatment.

The National Cancer Institute said that radiation therapy could cause hair loss on the body party being treated. The institute notes that hair typically grows back in 3 to 6 months, but receiving a high dose of radiation may cause hair to grow back thinner or not at all.

Melanie Shaha and Matt Shaha
Melanie said she lost her hair after undergoing radiation treatment.Mercedes Berg Photography

"Not having hair, you stick out like a sore thumb and well-meaning people can say things that break your heart," she told "Today." "I don't mind being sick but I mind looking sick. I'd rather blend in and not stand out at the store."

According to "Today," in 2018 Melanie's 27-year-old son Matt made a joke that sparked an idea during a family lunch.

"I said, 'Why don't I grow out my hair to make a wig for you?'" Matt told the outlet, adding that at the time he was growing out his hair because the university he attended had strict rules about hair length.

Matt Shaha
Matt (middle) got his hair cut after growing it our for nearly three years.Courtesy of Mercedes Berg Photography

Although Melanie initially didn't want to take her son up on his offer, he persisted and grew 12 inches of hair by late March of this year, "Today" reported. KSAZ, a local news station in Phoenix, Arizona, reports that Matt grew his hair over the span of two and a half years.

With the help of his coworkers, Matt chopped off his long locks in March of this year, "Today" reported.

Melanie Shaha and Matt Shaha
Melanie and Matt shipped the hair to California.Courtesy of Mercedes Berg Photography

"We were super pumped and when they started cutting, we bawled," Melanie told "Today."

Then, they shipped the hair to Compassionate Creations in Newport Beach, California, where it was assembled into a hand-stitched wig, "Today reported." KSAZ reports that the wig cost $2,000.

Melanie Shaha and Mi
Melanie (left) and Matt (right) had a hairdresser cut and style the wig.Courtesy of Mercedes Berg Photography

"The color is spectacular and we had it cut and styled with a hairdresser," Melanie told "Today." "Matt said it looks great on me."

"It's a no-brainer," Matt told KSAZ. "She gave me the hair in the first place."

The Shahas did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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