Photo courtesy Edmonton Journal
Neil Makokis started growing his hair, thinking he could donate it to make a wig for his sister Darlene, who was facing cancer treatments. Unfortunately, she died before his hair was long enough. But in a tribute to her, he kept growing it for several more years, and prayed when he braided it every morning.
In November 2011, 48-year-old Makokis had the braids cut in a ceremony at City Hall in Edmonton that remembered his sister and raised money to benefit the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
“The whole experience was enlightening and fulfilling,” Makokis says. “The offering of my hair was meaningful, but doing so in a ceremony and honouring my culture made it that much more meaningful.”