TODAY’s contributing writer and editor, A. Pawlowski, reported on the touching story of eight-year-old Christian McPhilamy’s 2-year mission to donate his hair to kids who have lost their locks. TODAY.com features the latest news stories and TODAY show video.

Teased, but undeterred: Boy grows out hair to donate to child in need

Raising Awareness

By A. Pawlowski | TODAY.com | 6/2/15

He endured being called a girl, playing sports with waist-length hair and attracting disapproving looks from adults — all for a child in need he’s never met.

Eight-year-old Christian McPhilamy grew out his blond hair for more than two years so he could donate it to kids who have lost their locks. The mission ended with success last week after an epic haircut.

It all started during Christmas of 2012 when Christian saw a commercial for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital. The TV spot featured young cancer patients without hair, which piqued his curiosity.


Raising Awareness Is Easy

Two years ago, after seeing a St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital commercial for raising awareness that featured young cancer patients without hair, Christian McPhillamy was so intrigued by the images he saw that he looked up the hospital online to learn more.  There he found an ad for Children With Hair Loss, an organization that provides human hair replacement pieces, at no cost, to children who’ve lost their hair.

It was right then and there that at the ripe ol’ age of only 6, Christian made up his mind and set out on a two-year mission to grow his hair out so he could donate it to kids who needed it.  For two years he endured teasing, taunts and comments from classmates and even some adults.  His endurance is a testament to his determination and big heart.

Pictures That Are Worth More Than A Thousand Words

Images can be a powerful call-to-action for raising awareness, donor outreach and fundraising. Christian’s story proves that they work. The stirring images of St. Jude’s patients moved him to seek out more information about the hospital and to then take action. Now, Christian’s story and the touching images capturing his 2-year journey will inspire others to do the same.

Follow basic guidelines for the highest impact

  • Think about the story you are trying tell and what you are trying to achieve then can make a list of the images that truly represent your mission.
  • Photos that feature people’s faces are best for stirring up emotional impact when telling your organization’s story.
  • Take your own photos – something that’s easy to do with today’s mobile phone technology – If none are available, stock images can work very well as long as the people they show are real, and in believable settings.
  • When using someone else’s images, don’t forget to give them credit.
  • Whether for your website, donor emails or event fundraising poster, make sure that you share your images on social media and essential element of raising awareness.  Facebook posts with images are shared 50% more than posts without images and Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.

Raising awareness for your organization by capturing hearts and souls is easy with images that move your donors to action and giving.

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