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Seven-year-old granddaughter raises money for grandmother's leukemia treatment by cutting off hair

Posted at 6:32 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 19:37:19-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — At the beginning of August, the Mayer family found out their Grandma JoJo was sick.

"I had seen her on a Monday and we joked about her weird bruises, I called it you know, old person's skin," daughter Angie Mayer said. "You know, she bumped anything and got a bruise and we kind of joked about it, but we later found out that was a sign her hemoglobin was so low, a sign of her cancer."

Grandma JoJo has undergone a couple of rounds of chemotherapy, but got switched to a prescription medication that treats the specific type of cancer she has.

"The insurance doesn't always pay for all of it, and it's like $8,000 a month," Angie said. "So this one must have heard some of us talking about the price of her medicine and the price of cancer treatment in general."

JoJo's granddaughter, second-grader Ellie Mayer had a burning question: How could they raise money for her?

"If we got a certain amount of money, I would cut off all my hair," Ellie said.

Ellie did her due diligence: she wrote a letter asking family and friends for support. She also made a vow to donate her hair to Wigs for Kids, a nonprofit helping cancer patients, if she raised at least $1,500.

Word spread to Ellie's school, Hartley Melvin Sanborn.

"So her school, elementary school raised $1,800 to give to her grandma," Angie said.

So Ellie fulfilled her promise: chopping her hair off in front of her classmates.

"I don't think there was a dry eye in the gym because they were just all so proud of her. Teachers coming up, teachers that haven't taught her yet, that I haven't even met and we work in the same district," Angie said.

It's breathing new life into the idea that you are never too young to be kind, ambitious or a leader.

"She keeps setting the goals higher, she started off with $500 and that quickly changed to $1,500. Like we said, she already gave her Grandma $5,555," Angie said.

Ellie's goal is to raise $10,000, setting an example that words and actions can speak loud together.

"She's seven and she has helped my parents out in a huge way. And she has shown her classmates, when they did the fundraiser at school, she showed her classmates one girl can make a huge difference," Angie said.

Grandma JoJo next faces a bone marrow transplant in Omaha. Her family is raising money to help with medical expenses. For a link to their story, click here.

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