KU Football Player Thorson Donates Hair To Cancer Patients

April 18, 2010

| Video: Thorson Donates Hair

Kansas football fans can follow the Jayhawks on the internet through KU’s official website, as well as get behind the scenes looks through the official Kansas football blog.

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football player Brad Thorson is one of the Jayhawks’ most community-minded student-athletes. Extremely active in SAAC – the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee – he is one of the first to volunteer for opportunities to go out into the community.

On the day before spring football practice started last month, Thorson, along with teammates Corrigan Powell and Chris Harris, visited Hillcrest Elementary School to read to first graders.

During the question and answer session afterward, the 310-pound Thorson challenged the kids to guess how much he weighed. The first guess from the kids was 1,000 pounds. Eventually they guessed 300 pounds were on the offensive lineman’s frame.

Thorson laughed along with everyone because he was able to share joy and share the importance of reading with the youngsters. It was another opportunity for him to make a difference in someone’s life. Something he is passionate about.

Most recently, Thorson performed another act of selflessness and giving as he cut his flowing, 10-inch long hair to donate to Pantene, an organization which produces wigs for cancer patients.

As a kid, he didn’t like his haircuts. As he gained control of what he wanted his hair to look like, he still liked to keep it trimmed down.

“When I was younger I had that awful bowl cut,” the Mequon, Wisc. native said. “Once I started making decisions about my own hair, it has always been very short. You can’t grow your hair out if you are working for a newspaper or something like that. It isn’t very professional.”

After two years of college and football at the University of Wisconsin, Thorson transferred to Kansas ahead of the 2008 season. The change in scenery also meant a change in his appearance.

“I went to school (at KU) and I didn’t get my hair cut for awhile,” he said. “Then it had finally grown out, and it was the first time I really had hair for years. I thought I would let it grow for a little bit. Letting your hair grow isn’t that tough. (I thought) I could donate it. The plan was hatched.”

While getting his hair cut by Tisha Cobb of Tisha Cobb Hair Design in Lawrence on Saturday, Thorson was a little emotional settling into the chair.

“I haven’t had a haircut in 21 months,” he told Cobb. “I don’t want to part with this. This is really rough for me.”

After preparing his hair, Cobb snipped the first of several “ponytails.”

“Now we have to do it,” Thorson said with a stunned look on his face. After a deep breath and several more cuts from Cobb, he added, “That is a lot of hair going. This is rough. I am having trouble parting with the hair. Wow. This is awkward.”

When his hair was cut down to two inches, Thorson quickly added that it was all worth it.

“I am lost without my hair, but it is going to a great cause,” he said. “Somebody is going to get an awesome wig with an awesome head of hair.”

As Thorson looked into the mirror without his 21-month mane, he wasn’t sure what he was viewing. “I feel like I am looking at a stranger.”

He may look a little different, but Thorson is still the same, fun-loving, caring individual who is making a difference in his community.