On a sunny Monday afternoon, on the north end of the seventh floor of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, there is a buzz of excitement in the air …
Or, maybe, it’s the buzz of hair clippers.
Room 716 has morphed into a pop-up salon, and 18-year-old Jack, a beloved patient, is the center of attention.
After two long months in the hospital, Jack’s care team decided to lift his spirits with a special haircut from Great Clips general manager and stylist, Kelly Slade, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals supporter.
There is laughter and happy chatter.
“If a little haircut is going to help brighten his day, make him feel better, that’s what I want to do,” Slade says.
Jack is non-ambulatory and non-verbal. But his broad, easy smile communicates to the whole world.
“He’s been so excited about this!” says his nurse, Ashley Kriz, R.N. “We’ve been talking about it every day.”
Slade gets to work with the tools of her trade — combing, clipping, snipping. Thick brunette locks float to the floor around Jack as his mop of hair is transformed into a trim, neat summer style.
Jack has had so many new challenges to overcome and adjustments to make in recent weeks.
First, a tracheostomy and then a feeding tube.
But this. This is not a tube or a needle or a medical procedure.
This is a haircut. Gloriously ordinary. Simply joyful.
When the cut is complete, Jack examines the work — grinning from ear to ear.
Now, to await the compliments.
He doesn’t wait long.
One by one, nurses pop by, doctors, environmental services staff, therapists. They all know Jack. They all knew about the haircut.
“Jack, I hardly recognized you!” “Look at you! You look amazing!” “Thoroughly handsome!”
There is a lot of love for Jack. He entertains admirers for the rest of the day.
It’s all enough to make a guy feel pretty good.